The impacts of climate change are being felt across the globe.

In parts of Australia, the impacts include increased intensity of heatwaves, bushfires and drought.

Governments must act now to reduce these impacts and their effects on vulnerable people.

Climate change poses grave risks to all Australians, but particularly households and communities who are already experiencing other stressors, such as unemployment, poor health, and insecure or inadequate housing. For example, elderly people are highly vulnerable to heatwaves, while many low-income households are either uninsured or underinsured, exposing them to financial risk from extreme weather events.

We must take action to ensure a socially just transition to a zero-carbon society. Good policy will both protect Australians from the impacts of climate change and create employment and other economic opportunities, including for communities historically dependent on high-emissions industries such as power generation from coal-mining.

We call for action to

Implement a fair emissions reduction plan in line with limiting global warming to 1.5° C

Australian governments must introduce targets and policies to reduce emissions in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C – a level projected to lessen some of the worst impacts – coupled with programs to ensure that the transition to a clean economy is fair and does not disadvantage low-income groups. Policies may include accelerating the transition to clean energy, efficiency standards for buildings and vehicles, and carbon pricing.

More of our work is available on our Social Policy and Research Centre climate change and energy topic page .