The Black Summer bushfires at the start of 2020 gave Australians a shocking taste of how the unfolding climate emergency directly affects our lives. Canberra, the nation’s capital, was enveloped in hazardous levels of smoke for weeks on end, which penetrated into hospitals, shopping centres and homes. Eastern Australia was on fire for months. The bushfires burned well over 10 million hectares, directly killed 33 people, killed over 400 more from smoke exposure, put thousands in hospital, killed or displaced an estimated 3 billion animals, devastated rural communities and left national parks black, silent and nearly devoid of life.
These conditions gave birth to “The Australian Climate Consensus Forum 2020”. The Forum was the brainchild of
Professor Steven Robson, past president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Gynaecologists;
Professor Penny D Sackett, former Chief Scientist of Australia; and
Mr David Templeman, President of the Public Health Association of Australia.
Shortly before COVID-19 bans on interstate travel were imposed, Robson, Sackett and Templeman convened a diverse group of Australian organisations including medical practitioners, farmers, economists, firefighters, scientists, indigenous groups, professionals, and community and religious groups from across Australia to attend the 'Australian Climate Consensus Forum' on 12 March 2020, at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra. The aim of the Forum was to develop a 'Consensus Declaration' reflecting the participants’ views informed by the latest scientific data regarding climate change.
Fast forward six months, following a 'COVID-induced' hiatus, and the Consensus Declaration has been finalised. The declaration is a simple, scientific, apolitical statement of the urgent need for action on climate change, including concrete aims, and a commitment by individual organisations to develop their own climate action plans to reduce emissions.
Upon its formal release, the Consensus Declaration will be open for endorsement by Australian non-government, non-partisan organisations.
@2020. All rights reserved Climate Consensus 2020.
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