Tuesday, 24 September 2013

19/9 LATELINE Government axes Climate Commission

Government axes Climate Commission

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 19/09/2013
Reporter: Jake Sturmer
The Abbott government has abolished the Climate Commission headed up by Tim Flannery just as the IPCC report predicting sea level rises of a metre by the end of the century, is about to be released.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The Abbott Government has moved to roll out its climate policy by sacking the Climate Commission.

Packed with eminent scientists and business people, it was created by the Gillard Government to advise on climate policy.

It comes ahead of the latest IPCC report, which the ABC can reveal shows sea levels could rise by a metre by the end of the century.

Environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer has the story.

JAKE STURMER, REPORTER: The message from scientists is clear.

STEVEN SHERWOOD, UNIVERSITY OF NSW: Right now if you look at the rate of increase of carbon dioxide in atmosphere, it's fairly close to the worst-case scenarios that have been looked at by scientists since we started looking at this problem.

JAKE STURMER: Those and a range of other scenarios will be outlined in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

It's not officially released until next Friday, but the ABC has obtained a final draft which shows global temperatures have risen by almost a degree since the pre-industrial era. While average land and sea temperatures will continue to rise, the IPCC predicts anything over four degrees is unlikely this century. And, disturbingly, sea levels could surge by a metre by the end of the century, in part because glaciers and ice sheets are melting faster.

The evidence suggests that continued rising emissions would inevitably lead to a near-complete loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet and a seven-metre sea level rise by the end of the millennium. 

But right now, one thing scientists have been battling to explain is why the rate of surface warming has slowed. The planet's surface is still heating up, but at a slower rate.

JOHN COOK, GLOBAL CHANGE INSTITUTE: Been a lot of studies that have examined this very question over the last couple of years and what the evidence seems to be telling us is that the oceans are taking up most of the heat, most of global warming.

JAKE STURMER: One question that has been answered is the future of the Climate Commission. Tim Flannery got the call from the new Environment minister axing his team.

TIM FLANNERY, FORMER CHIEF CLIMATE COMMISSIONER: It is that you need a well-informed public in order to make the right sort of decisions.

JOURNALIST: But that won't happen now? 

TIM FLANNERY: Maybe the Government will find another way. I'm not aware - it's a good question for government: how will the Australian public remain informed about climate change?

JAKE STURMER: Fulfilling another election promise, Greg Hunt has also moved to close the Climate Change Authority, set up by Labor to provide policy advice. 

Jake Sturmer, Lateline.

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