It has become fashionable for many on the right to use the wars in Ukraine and Gaza to play down the existential threat to humanity posed by climate change.
While it is a truism to say that Israelis and Ukrainians are far more concerned about the immediate threats they face than global warming, that is no excuse to suggest any nation can afford to drop the ball.
By conflating separate issues critics of stronger emissions reductions targets are not only being disingenuous and deceptive, they also demonstrate a lack of intellectual rigour.
The stark reality, spelt out in the United Nations' Emissions Gap report this week, is humanity is on track for a full-scale climate disaster before the end of the century.
The report makes it clear existing targets, negotiated as part of the Paris Agreement, are inadequate and it may already be too late to even slow down the global heating cycle.
"The world is witnessing a disturbing acceleration in the number, speed and scale of broken climate records," the report said.
"At the time of writing 86 days have been recorded with temperatures exceeding 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels this year."
September was the hottest month on record, exceeding the previous record by 0.5 degrees and with the global average temperature at 1.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
This alarming spike, which has been linked to catastrophic weather events, comes after global greenhouse gas emissions increased by 1.2 per cent from 2021 to 2022.
The report calls on high-income and high-emissions nations such as Australia to accelerate their emissions reductions efforts and to adopt bolder targets in order to reach net zero as a matter of urgency.
Low- and middle-income countries are being urged to meet pressing development needs in ways that are compatible with a transition away from fossil fuels.
Unless urgent measures are taken the consequences will be dire with a three degree increase over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
Of particular concern is that while the number of countries making net zero pledges continues to increase, confidence in their successful implementation is low.
It's not good enough for countries such as this one to talk the talk. Australia also needs to walk the walk. That means no new fossil fuel projects.
The report states the chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, the original goal of the Paris Agreement, has now fallen to just 14 per cent.
If global warming peaks at three degrees or more above pre-industrial levels as the report predicts our children and our children's children will be living in a very different world to the one previous generations knew.
Possible consequences include a runaway melting of the polar ice caps and the complete loss of the Amazon rainforest, the "lungs of the world".
Australia, a hot and dry continent since the end of the last ice age, would be one of the worst affected nations. Cities, towns and even entire regions may be rendered uninhabitable by soaring temperatures, droughts and flooding.
The irony is humanity has known this was on the cards for many decades.
It is now just over 34 years since the then British PM Margaret Thatcher used her speech to the UN on November 8, 1989, to warn global warming and climate change had overtaken communism as the greatest threat to humanity.
The Berlin wall fell the following day.
While many will quibble about the cost of going even harder on the transition to renewables than Australia is now, the real issue is the cost of doing nothing.
That is a bill the world cannot afford to pay.
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