New IPCC report stark warning that fair and fast climate change action critical to protect people

1 March 2022

The latest report on climate change impacts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), lays bare the devastating impacts climate change is already having and will continue to have on people lives, livelihoods and wellbeing, increasing the urgency for fair, fast and inclusive action on climate change.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said “The IPCC report confirms the devastation Community Sector Organisations in Australia are already seeing firsthand as communities face more frequent and intensive extreme weather events, like the floods ravaging South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales now, the extreme heat waves scorching Western Australia or the catastrophic 2019/2020 fires.

“We are concerned that these climate change impacts are entrenching and driving more poverty and inequality as people on low incomes are hit first, worst and longest and have the least resources to cope, adapt and recover. 

“Delayed and Inadequate action now will cost communities, society and the economy dearly in the coming decades. We need federal election candidates to commit to more ambitious emissions reduction this decade, 2050 is too late, and to a plan that is fair, inclusive and benefits those on low incomes. 

“We need policies to ensure that people on lower incomes can access clean technologies like rooftop solar, batteries, and electric vehicles and are not disadvantaged by poorly targeted subsidies and inequitable cost recovery measures.

“With predicted temperature rise of 1.5 degrees likely locked in, the next federal Government must prioritise helping people and communities with the least, to adapt and build resilience to more frequent and intense disasters.

“We urgently need a national review of affordable, accessible and quality insurance, which is already out of reach for many people. To many people find are losing their homes and possessions and are forced to start from scratch exacerbating trauma and disadvantage.

“Resource are also needed to establish local Community Resilience Hubs that are community-led, to empower and assist the community in planning, response, recovery and resilience-building.

“We also need to provide adequate incomes, including increasing JobSeeker and disaster payments, to give people a fighting chance to adapt, respond, and recover from more intense and frequent floods, bushfires and heatwaves.

“The IPCC report lays out a stark choice, if we don’t act now to cut emissions and build resilience, inequality will increase and the impacts on people and planet will be devastating.”