What it will take to limit global warming to 1.5°C - and how the fossil fuel industry could help

Presented by ANU College of Science

What it will take to limit global warming to 1.5°C - and how the fossil fuel industry could help

The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report highlighted the potential role of individual choices and lifestyle changes in meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, pursuing efforts to keep global warming to 1.5°C.

But is our current focus on “demand-side measures” such as carbon pricing actually letting the fossil fuel industry off the hook?

The evidence from the latest integrated assessment models is that, if we rely primarily on carbon pricing to limit warming, the effective carbon price could rise rapidly to politically unsustainable levels.

What is worse, carbon pricing is unlikely to incentivise the development of the critical “backstop” technology for achieving net zero emissions: the ability to dispose of carbon dioxide on a large scale. This is because carbon dioxide disposal is more expensive than most other ways of reducing or avoiding emissions in the short to medium term.

Prof Myles Allen will argue that the only way of ensuring that carbon dioxide disposal is available, on the scale and at the time it will be needed, is to make its deployment a licensing requirement of continued fossil fuel extraction. This would impose the cost of neutralising the risk of dangerous climate change on today’s fossil fuel industry and its customers: which, arguably, is the only institution in the world that can afford to meet it.

Prof Allen's presentation will be introduced by Rob Sturgiss of the Department of the Environment and Energy, and will be followed by audience Q&A.

After the event, drinks and finger food will be served, hosted by the European Union Delegation to Australia.

About the speaker

Prof Myles Allen is Professor of Geosystem Science at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

His research focuses on the global assessment of climate change science, including human and natural influences on climate change, risks of extreme weather and long-range climate forecasts. He was a Lead Author on the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 degrees, having served on the IPCC’s 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessments.

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