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Coronavirus and climate: Australia's chance to shift to green energy

Coronavirus and climate: Australia’s chance to shift to green energy

The fires generated unprecedented demands for climate action in Australia The Covid-19 pandemic is a “huge opportunity” to fast-track Australia’s shift towards more renewable energy, climate scientists have told the BBC.

Australia’s recent bushfires made climate change the country’s most pressing issue .

But scientists say that momentum risks being lost because of the virus.

Instead, as Australia looks for ways to revive its economy, innovations around solar, wind and hydroelectric projects should be central, they say.

The devastating summer of blazes – driven by drought and rising temperatures – killed 33 people and destroyed about 3,000 homes. Millions of hectares of bush, forest and parks burned.

Prof Mark Howden of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University said memories of “the droughts and the fires and the smoke haze across major cities have dissipated with the arrival of Covid-19”.

“And clearly the momentum for change in relation to climate here in Australia has dissipated quite considerably too.” ‘Significant disruption is an opportunity’

Australia contributes about 1.5% of the world’s total carbon emissions. Fossil fuels it exports – mainly coal to China and India – make up another 3.6% when burned. Activists say evacuations like those seen during the bushfires could be more common under a worsening climate Prof Howden told the BBC that reducing carbon emissions should be put front and centre of Australia’s post-virus economic recovery plan.

“When you have significant disruption like this, it does give you an opportunity to move forward on a different trajectory from the one you’re on previously,” he said. A SIMPLE GUIDE: How do I protect myself?

Click here to view original web page at www.bbc.com

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