The following was published in the Western Advocate on September 17, 2022 by a BCCAN Member
Bathurst Community Climate Action Network (BCCAN) has updated its mission statement. The statement now reads: ‘To support Bathurst and the wider Central West to transition to a sustainable, regenerative, post-carbon economy with net zero emissions by 2035’. Our previous statement had a date of 2030. This was in line with the goal of organisations such as the United Nations if the world was to keep global warming no more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2030.
So why the five-year increase? Has BCAAN given up on the 2030 target?
It is now accepted by more and more climate experts that the planet will exceed 1.5 degrees warming by 2030. For example, Australia’s Tim Flannery (internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer, and conservationist), while speaking at a forum after the United Nations 2021 climate change conference ‘COP26’, was hopeful that if all nations did what they say they would do at COP26, then warming could peak at about 1.8 degrees. This figure, though, depends on big emission nations being fully cooperative in the years up to 2030.
It seems that many at COP26 itself were doubtful that this full cooperation would occur; a line in the COP26 report reads ‘If the pledges made at Glasgow are fully implemented, warming will be kept below 2 degrees C; and with the commitment to further action over the next decade we have kept 1.5 degrees C in reach.’ According to the COP26 report itself the pledges made at COP26 were not enough to achieve 1.5 degrees by 2030 without further action. It remains to be seen what will change after COP27 in November.
Locally, coal needs to stay in the ground and our natural environment needs to be protected. Coal in the ground and our forests (with all their remaining balance and biodiversity) are carbon already sequestered from the atmosphere. And we must keep supporting new solar and wind renewable projects – these are the preferred options in our water-limited region.
The bottom line is that for many years we have all been too slow to address warming. We need to keep working as hard as we can while hoping that a target of 1.5 degrees by 2035 is achievable. Not enough action has already cost us five years. The new BCCAN date of 2035 reflects this.