The world is on track to become up to five degrees hotter, and sea levels could rise more than 80 centimetres this century, according to a leaked draft of a landmark climate change report prepared for the UN.
There is now a 95 per cent likelihood human greenhouse gas emissions are driving changes being observed globally, which in recent weeks have included extraordinary heatwaves in Asia and Alaska.
That degree of certainty has been revised up from 90 per cent in the last report in 2007, 66 per cent in 2001, and just over 50 in 1995. A sea level rise of up to 82 centimetres, which would have serious impacts on coastal cities everywhere, is now ”unequivocal”, Reuters reported.
But while many forecasts have hardened, the certainty over some of the impacts of global warming has declined, with scientists struggling to predict some local effects including regional changes in rainfall, drought and wild weather.
The final version of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which will cover the expected effects of climate on Australia in coming decades, is scheduled for release in September.
About 200 countries, including Australia, have pledged to hold temperature rises to two degrees by cutting emissions, though few nations are on track to meet that goal.
The federal opposition rejected a report by Fairfax Media on Monday that showed banks and other major investors estimated that about $4 billion in private funding for renewable energy projects would be withheld if the Coalition won office.
This estimate is based on work by market analysts suggesting that regulatory uncertainty and the prospect of unknown returns would stymie investment.
Roughly $20 billion in private and public investment would be required to meet the mandatory renewable energy target – 20 per cent clean energy by 2020 – that has bipartisan political support.
The opposition climate spokesman, Greg Hunt, said he speaks to big investors regularly and did not believe they had any concerns about the opposition’s ”direct action” climate change policy.
The opposition intends to spend about $2.5 billion to buy emissions cuts in its first four years, and dismantle the government’s emissions trading scheme, climate science advisory panel and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Mr Hunt said the corporation was spending far more than it needed by partnering in large-scale solar power plants and other renewable projects.
The Climate Change Minister, Mark Butler, said the Labor policy was producing results, including a 7 per cent cut in emissions from the National Electricity Market and a 25 per cent increase in renewable energy generation in the past year. ”The Coalition’s climate change policy is an expensive dud,” he said.
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