Climate Change update – Prof David Karoly, Mooroolbark 27th August, 2014

Posted by Jan Down on Thu 04 September 2014

Australian climate scientist, Professor David Karoly presented an update on climate change, with particular reference to Melbourne, on 27th August, at the Mooroolbark Community Centre in Melbourne’s outer east.

He began with a picture of three bowls of porridge, and Goldilocks discovering that there is no ‘just right’ – the choice is between hot, hotter and boiling. This, he said, is where we now are with climate change. So we need to go beyond zero emissions, actually drawing down carbon from the atmosphere.

Here are some of the main points I gleaned from his talk:

  • Australia has used up its ‘carbon budget’ – we are now in debt to the rest of the world. Global emissions are still rising rapidly (even though there are good things happening in some places)
  • Most of the fossil fuels still in the ground – coal, oil, and gas – cannot be burned if we want to stay below 2 degrees and avoid catastrophic climate change.
  • Coal assets are over-valued by a factor of 10. (So don’t invest in them. E.g., look at what your superfund is investing in, and if coal, change funds).
  • There is a stronger link between climate change and greenhouse gas emissions than there is between smoking and lung cancer.

Professor Karoly’s presentation of the science was based on the latest IPCC report (2013). The Summary for Policy Makers can be found at

The evening was organised by EAGA – an alliance of 7 councils: Yarra Ranges, Maroondah, Whitehorse, Stonnington, Boroondara, Monash and Knox. Their aim is ‘to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the region and provide support for regional adaptation to climate change impacts’.

Scott McKenry, from Maroondah Council, also spoke briefly about some of the recent climate change action of these councils, such as retrofitting for 1439 households, to make their houses more energy efficient. More information is available on the EAGA website. 

After all this bad news, here are some places to find some inspiration!

If we are going to get ourselves off fossil fuels, we need a different economy, a whole different way of life. Another way is possible! (Also see links on the website)