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An open letter to those who question, 'is climate change real?'

is climate change real
Is climate change real? You bet.

By KELLIE CAUGHT

I am so lucky working at WWF-Australia. I work to help protect our animals and the environment I love. I’ve experienced first-hand the beauty of Australia’s places, like the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef and its amazing animals, the marine turtles, whales, and dolphins. That’s why I am so passionate about my job.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is brought to you by the WWF. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

And as a mum of Zoe, a fun-loving four year old, I love spending time with her in our beautiful bushland and rainforests – and I can’t wait to take her to the Reef, to Kakadu, and our alpine areas.

But I’m not here to gloat.

Because on the flip side, I work on climate change.

And that can be tough.

We know climate change is harming the animals and places we love. And it’s a real problem.

Scientists fear the pace of climate change could make it near impossible for species and wilderness areas to adapt. We could lose up to 30% of species if we don’t act and if temperatures are allowed to rise 3 degrees or more.

Imagine a world without polar bears, marine turtles, pandas, tigers, Gouldian finches, or the blank-flanked rock-wallaby. Imagine a world where a lot of the Great Barrier Reef, as we know it, is gone.

I don’t want that world for me, my daughter or my grandkids. And I don’t want our generation to be the one that failed to act.is climate change real

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All the more reason to trust in the science when wondering, is climate change real? After all 97% of published peer reviewed science papers say that global warming and climate change is a reality and a direct result of human activity.

And it was only a few weeks ago we saw a draft international report on climate change, which suggests temperatures could rise by almost 5°C this century and that our seas could be up to 82 cm higher. Plus earlier this year we’ve seen koalas come down from trees in desperate search of water during heat waves and rising sea levels are causing turtle eggs to drown before they can hatch.

This is the reality of climate change – its impacts are very real.

But it’s not just our animals under threat, climate change impacts on us all – our society, our economy, even our health – it affects everyone.

In Australia last summer there were 123 weather records broken, with unprecedented heat, severe bushfires, extreme rainfall and damaging flooding. These events are being influenced by climate change.

WWF, with partners, recently launched I AM REAL, a new campaign with actors Bryan Brown, Leah Purcell, Miriam Margolyes and John Bell, asking the public to think more about climate change when they vote.

The good news is we know what we need to do.

We need to cut our carbon pollution levels. And the best way to do that is by having stronger pollution reduction targets.

That means strong government policy and action.

At the moment our major parties are committed to a minimum pollution reduction target of 5% by 2020.

But that’s not strong enough.

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Scientists say we need stronger targets, if we are to avoid the worst of climate change.

So it’s time we commit – WWF wants both major parties to step up and commit to stronger pollution reduction targets of at least 25% by 2020.

This is totally doable.

Recent research shows that an emissions trading scheme (ETS) – that’s what we basically have now – can be ramped up to achieve stronger targets.

And it’s not going to cost the Earth (no pun intended). Modelling we commissioned from Vivid Economics, showed an internationally linked ETS would enable Australia to take on a 25% 2020 target at very little additional cost to the economy.

is climate change real
A screen from part of the IAMREAL campaign

However the Coalition’s current Direct Action policy will struggle to meet even the 5% target without an estimated additional $35 billion invested by 2020.

So why don’t we keep the basics of what we have now, an ETS, which is already working – we know it can help us achieve stronger pollution reduction targets.

It’s not just me saying that. Polling shows more Australians support having an ETS than oppose it and they support stronger pollution reduction targets.

The success of our new campaign, I AM REAL, is testament to the fact that everyday Australians want real action on climate change.

We’ve received an incredible response – with 10,000 visitors to the campaign website in the first 10 hours! The success continues with Australians speaking with one voice by sending emails to their local candidates, calling for stronger climate action and fighting back when asked, is climate change real? And the great news is politicians and candidates are personally replying.

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This amazing response from the Australian public has given me hope.

Because one day I hope to have my first snorkelling trip on the Great Barrier Reef with my grandkids, watching the joy on their faces as they follow a green turtle gliding through the coral. One day I hope I’ll walk through the Snowy Mountains and point out the pygmy possum to them.

But it’s only through stronger action on climate change, that this hope will become a reality.

is climate change realClimate change is a real problem that impacts on us all – our society, our economy, even our health – it affects everyone.  The ads call on all Australians to think about the reality of climate change and its effects on the animals and places they love, and on us. They can choose to Take Action and ask our political leaders to commit to stronger pollution reduction targets a solution that works for real -a price and limit on pollution, like an ETS, which will drive investment in a clean renewable future and stronger targets. We want readers to help shape our political parties’ climate policies so we can better protect animals, places and people. We want them to speak out for the animals and environment who don’t have a say. Go to the WWF ‘I Am Real’ website here to see how you can help make a difference.

Kellie is Climate Change National Manager at WWF-Australia. She is passionate about the environment, human & critter rights, her daughter & good politics.

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