The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on the IPCC’s Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Cycle (AR6), entitled Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis.
The report found:
- There is no doubt that human activities have warmed the planet. Rapid and widespread changes have occured in the planet’s climate and some impacts are now locked in;
- In all but the lowest emissions scenario (SSP1-1.9), global warming of 1.5°C will be exceeded in the near future (between 2021 and 2040) and will stay above 1.5°C until the end of the century;
- Methane and nitrous oxide concentrations are now higher than at any point in the last 800,000 years and stringent methane restrictions are vital to curbing global warming. CO2 concentrations are unprecedented in at least the last 2 million years.
- The WGI report is clearer than ever: both the 1.5°C and 2°C warming limits will be exceeded during the 21st century unless we deeply reduce CO2, along with other greenhouse gas emissions, to net zero around or after 2050.
Commenting on the resolution, Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment, said:
“The IPCC has sent us all a blunt warning: we are on the wrong path, and we must turn back.
“We must reduce emissions as quickly as possible. Even if we are to reach net zero by emissions by 2050, it may not be enough to maintain a safe climate.
“There is no time to waste. What we do in the next decade is absolutely critical.
“The IPCC provides overwhelming evidence that global warming is exacerbating extreme weather and natural disasters, and Australia is no exception. Drought, flood, fires and extreme heat have all been supercharged by the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
“The science is clear: we simply cannot afford anymore fossil fuel expansion. This means no new coal, gas or oil development beyond those fields already producing.
“Australian companies cannot drag their heels on the climate crisis. Net zero by 2050 commitments are meaningless if they are not accompanied by substantive emissions reductions by 2030.
“At least 12 ASX200 companies have plans to expand fossil fuel production: Beach Energy, BHP Group, Incitec Pivot, Mineral Resources, Oil Search, Origin Energy, Santos, Seven Group, South32, WH Soul Pattinson & Co, Whitehaven Coal and Woodside Petroleum.
“Investors in these companies must take action: demand an end to all fossil fuel expansion and escalate when companies fail to act. It’s time to vote against the re-election of obstructive directors, link remuneration to emissions targets and end the greenwashing.
“Investors must also address the toxic lobbying by corporate industry associations. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) delivered us the ‘gas-fired recovery’, while the Minerals Council of Australia continues to falsely claim that Australian coal reduces emissions.
“These groups are not serious about climate action, member companies who claim to be concerned about climate change should suspend their memberships immediately.
ACCR has filed shareholder resolutions with AGL Energy (ASX:AGL), calling on the company to set Paris-aligned targets; and BHP Group (ASX:BHP), calling on the company to assess its industry associations’ advocacy against the Paris Agreement.