Statement from the Australian Academy of Science—withdrawal of the US from the Paris Accord

June 02, 2017

“The Paris Accord in 2015 was a landmark in global acceptance of the need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“Signatories accepted that to limit global warming to 1.5-2.0-degrees above pre-industrial levels, we needed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the second half of the century, and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas levels thereafter.

“The withdrawal of the world’s largest economy from the Accord will certainly have an impact on global climate change efforts. However it shouldn’t affect the resolve of the many countries already committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We acknowledge the Australian government's resolve to maintain its own commitment.

“Australia is one of the highest per-capita emitters in the world, and our coastal infrastructure and water resources in parts of southern Australia are highly vulnerable to climate change.

“By virtue of our position in the southern hemisphere, Australia also has primary stewardship for monitoring and understanding half of the world’s climate, so climate change must be central to public discussion and policy thinking.

“The Australian Academy of Science has a number of publications that help people understand the science of climate change, both our best understanding of the current situation and what is uncertain. The challenge is monumental—even more so following this announcement—and will require the very best science from around the world to provide understanding, to adapt to the existing impact of climate change; to suggest solutions and to evaluate the success of efforts to combat this global challenge."

Quotes attributable to Professor Andrew Holmes, President of the Academy.

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