Sydney, 9 August 2021: The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 report on the Physical Science Basis warns of the devastating climate impacts faced by Australia and the Pacific unless the world makes deep, rapid cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, which Greenpeace Australia Pacific says provides a clear message to Australia’s leaders: act now, you idiots.

David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said:

“No more excuses and no more delays on climate change. This is decision time for every political and business leader in Australia. This is the issue on which you will be judged by history and by the children of Australia, whose futures are on the line.”

“The IPCC Working Group 1 report makes it clear that we are out of control and accelerating towards disaster. Only if we make deep, rapid emissions cuts including the complete phase out of climate-destroying coal, oil and gas do we have a chance of making it to a safer, habitable future powered by clean energy.”

“All decisions our leaders make from today must be informed by this knowledge. Any further expansion of our dangerous gas and coal industries is untenable. Australia must close all coal burning power stations by 2030 at the latest.

“We could have made emissions cuts decades ago that would have put us on a path to a safer future, but this was blocked by the vested interests of coal, oil and gas and the politicians who have subsidised and protected these big polluters.” 

“Australia is one of the most carbon intensive economies in the world, making an outsized contribution to the global crisis we face, and our leaders are obstructive in international negotiations.”

“As the biggest exporter of coal and gas in the world, Australia’s main export these days is climate damage. Our international trading partners, most of whom are moving rapidly to reduce emissions, will be putting increasing pressure on Australia’s leaders in the lead up to the COP26 Summit in November, with our country increasingly seen as a rogue state on climate.”

“If this report makes you feel angry, sad and afraid, that is because it is angering, saddening and frightening. Climate change is not an accident or a force of nature. It is caused primarily by the pollution produced by coal, oil and gas corporations.”

“We have a choice. We already have the renewable energy technology to make huge emissions cuts in our electricity system which will put us well on the path to a safer future, with many of our biggest and most trusted businesses already committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2025.”

“Now, as pressure builds on Australia’s leaders to reduce emissions, we can put an end to the fossil fuel industry holding the fortunes of our country to ransom and still choose the future we want.”

Dr Nikola Casule, Head of Research and Investigations at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said:

“The climate science community has been sounding the alarm on global warming for years now, and it has been routinely ignored by the Morrison Government. This latest IPCC report is their ‘break glass in case of emergency’ moment.

“As this report finds, we have less time available to us to tackle dangerous climate change than originally thought. It’s like getting to the Olympic final and finding out you’re racing Usain Bolt – and the Federal Government’s been sabotaging us at the starting line.”

“The Morrison Government’s approach on climate action has been designed to benefit the fossil fuel industry that’s responsible for accelerating dangerous global warming, and for much of their political campaign donations. This is what their failure to improve Australia’s pitifully low Paris Agreement target was about, and what their persistent spruiking of fossil fuel industry’s fake solutions of carbon capture and storage and gas-fired hydrogen production have been about.

“Nothing less than an immediate phase out of fossil fuels and a 75% reduction in emissions this decade is acceptable from the Morrison Government any more. To do any less would be to put the future of the Australian people and that of our irreplaceable natural wonders, like the Great Barrier Reef, under an unacceptable threat of harm.”

Joseph Moeno-Kolio, Greenpeace Head of Pacific, said:

“The IPCC’s latest report leaves no doubt that the fossil fuel companies actively driving the climate crisis need to be stopped if Pacific people are to have any chance of living in safety and with some measure of dignity.”

“The climate change genie can’t go back into the bottle. It’s too late to reverse so much of the damage the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas have already done to our beautiful islands but the world needs to do everything in its power to stop the climate crisis before it ends our entire way of life.”

“There is a more than 50 per cent likelihood that 1.5 degrees of warming will be exceeded by the early 2030s under all scenarios. For a region already suffering the effects of 1.1 degrees of warming, this will be disastrous for our communities, our economies and our cultures.”

“Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met last week with Pacific leaders and committed to supporting the Pacific family. This report has found that if Morrison’s obsession with fossil fuels isn’t immediately ended, these words might one day be nothing more than an empty lament on the family tomb.”

“For years, Pacific leaders have been calling on the world to follow the science and act on the causes of global heating. This latest report only further vindicates the awful truth: if we continue to burn fossil fuels, we burn through any chance of a safe, prosperous future.”

Glenn Walker, senior coal campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said:
“The message from the latest UN IPCC report for AGL, Australia’s biggest climate polluter, is clear – your coal-burning power stations are Australia’s greatest liability.”

“AGL is fuelling the climate crisis with its polluting coal, putting Australians at risk of extreme fire seasons, flooding, droughts and other dangerous climate impacts. AGL’s leadership must listen to climate science and close its coal-burning power stations by 2030 to give us a fighting chance at maintaining a safe climate.”

“It’s time for AGL, as our biggest climate polluter, to step up and make the switch from coal to renewables – and as the IPCC report shows, we don’t have time to waste.”

Greenpeace was an official observer to the IPCC and attended the virtual approval meeting of the Working Group 1 report.


Experts are available for comment, please contact Martin Zavan on 0424 295 422

[email protected] or Fiona Ivits on 0487 003 872 or [email protected] 


Images and videos showing impacts of climate change are available from the Greenpeace Media Library.