Climate change around the world: Australia

Sydney Opera House in smoky haze due to bushfires caused by climate change, 8 January 2020 (left), and a year later in clear blue skies, January 2021 (right). Photo: Marlene Kanga

What is the level of acceptance in Australia that climate change is man-made and what actions have been put in place to address it?

The Australian community is divided geographically and politically, with conservative groups and regional communities that have a high economic dependency on resource industries favouring coal and gas and resisting targets for zero carbon emissions. Urban and environmentally-minded communities tend to support greater action to address climate change.

What are the key issues in Australia that you consider to be caused by climate change?

Australia is a dry continent and the impact of global warming is resulting in a drier climate and extreme heat.

Sydney Harbour Bridge in January 2020 (left) and in January 2021 (right). Photo: Marlene Kanga

What do you think engineering could do about these issues?

Engineers have an ethical responsibility to incorporate sustainability principles into their work. They have a key role to play in developing sustainable solutions and low-cost, accessible sources of renewable energy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the main barriers to effective climate action in both your country and the engineering profession?

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions declined by three percent in the year to June 2020 mainly as a consequence of structural changes in electricity generation sector with $30 billion invested in renewable energy since 2017 and the installation of solar and wind energy generation, 10 times faster than the global average.

What are the key priorities for climate action within engineering?

Engineers are tremendously clever with innovations that have reduced the costs of solar and wind energy with ongoing ingenious engineering.

Find out more

ICE’s 13th Brunel International Lecture Series , given by The Resilience’s Shift’s very own Seth Schultz, is exploring how the engineering community can deliver a carbon-neutral and resilient society by mid-century.

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