Australia in 2030
Possible Alternative Futures
Acknowledgement and Commitment
We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work and acknowledge
that sovereignty of the land we call Australia has never been ceded. We commit to listening to and learning from First Nations people about how we can better reflect Indigenous ways of being and knowing in our work.
Rewrite the Future
The Rewrite the Future Roundtable series is a collaboration between Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) and over 100 thought leaders. We are grateful for the input and advice from and the support of our sponsors, Australian National University, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, University of Sydney and Health, Nature, Sustainability Research Group at Deakin.
About Climate and Health Alliance
CAHA’s Mission is to build a powerful health sector movement for climate action and sustainable healthcare.
Contact: email@example.com Released February 2021
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© Climate and Health Alliance 2021
Australia in 2030: Possible Alternative Futures
The Case for Imagination 3
Possible Alternative Futures 4
Scenario 1: No change 7
Scenario 2: Marginal change 15
Scenario 3: Maladaptive change 23
Scenario 4: Transformative change 31
Scenario 5: Integrated change 39
The decisions that we make now about greenhouse gas emissions and about adapting to climate change will affect us in 2030 and for decades beyond. Human activities currently produce the equivalent of about 53 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
The rising trend in emissions was long and strong before the COVID lockdown drove emission down by around 7% in 2020.
Will it ‘bounce-back’ to that upwards trend or will the reductions in emissions this year be the start of a new, downwards trajectory?
The long-term difference is likely to be stark.
On the one hand, a world heading towards 4 or 5°C warmer, with profound, and sometimes effectively unmanageable and irreversible impacts via changes in average climate, increased climate extremes and rising sea levels (amongst other things) affecting almost every aspect of our lives, livelihoods and environment.
In contrast, effective action on climate change, keeping it within 1.5°C to 2°C above pre-industrial will still result in significant impacts but these are likely to be much more manageable.
Whilst the differences in climate impacts of these two trajectories will only just be emerging by 2030 due to committed climate changes arising from past emissions, and the likely time needed to radically reduce GHG emissions, what will be very clear in that timeframe is:
- further increases in the costs of climate change impacts
- further increases in the need for proactive and effective adaptation responses and in particular
- changes in human systems across the globe (e.g. energy, food, urban, water, biodiversity, transport etc) as we either increase emissions under a business-as- usual scenario or reduce them as required by the Paris Agreement.
The choices we make now will put us on these different trajectories. Different future worlds.
Professor Mark Howden
Director, Climate Change Institute, Australian National University
Australia in 2030: Possible Alternative Futures 1
In 2020, we led a process of deep thinking and creative engagement in the Rewrite the Future roundtable series which brought over 100 thought leaders from health, social science, environment, human ecology, biodiversity, sustainability, finance, economics, urban design, media, science communication, Indigenous land and fire management, race relations, criminal justice, philanthropy, and futures thinking together over a six week period, to collectively imagine the future.
We sought to use the moment of disruption provided by the COVID-19 pandemic to imagine possible alternative futures for Australia, and to describe a preferred future – and the steps required to achieve it.
Guided by futures experts, we used a process of developing narratives for four possible alternative future scenarios: no change, marginal change, maladaptive change and radical transformative change.
What emerged was four possible alternative futures, from which (using a process of backcasting) we surfaced the key elements of a fifth, preferred, integrated scenario – the future we choose.
The five scenarios are described here, along with case studies or ‘day in the life of’ stories, intended to bring the scenarios to life, situate them in the real world, and communicate the experience of someone in that situation in 2030.
We have chosen different contexts, geographies and demographics to illustrate the experience of as wide a cross section of the community as we could.
About the process
Scenario development is a tool used by communities, agencies, governments and other groups to discuss possible alternative futures. Scenarios are in effect, ‘stories’ about the future. Scenario thinking allows us to challenge the status quo, by asking “what if?” This allows us to imagine the possibilities of tomorrow, so we are better prepared to take action, based on those insights.
Our goal through the publication and dissemination of this set of possible alternative future scenarios for Australia in 2030 is aimed at helping decision makers and the wider community better understand the consequences associated with different policy choices – and build consensus around a shared vision for a healthy, regenerative and just future for all.
Executive Director, Climate and Health Alliance
Australia in 2030: Possible Alternative Futures 2
“We MUST respect this earth - it is all we have
Claudio Dametto - South Australia
“I will always Vote to Preserve Our World.
Liam McGregor - Western Australia
“A simple message that even a politician can understand
Felicity Crombach - Victoria
“Please show you care about our future generations!!
Phil Harmer - New South Wales
“Save our world , Life & health before profits.
Kerry Lillian - New South Wales
“Close down all coal mines and Do not mine gas . Make these Companies
Daniel Johnson - New South Wales
“We want carbon free energy!
Edan Clarke - New South Wales
“Feels good to be taking a voter action step
Beaver Hudson - New South Wales
“Great Initiative. Let’s Hold elected officials Accountable to their bosses, us!
John Paul Posada - New South Wales
“We need actions not words we need honest democratic govt We need a pm
Bob Pearce - South Australia
“Thank you for this great resource. I was feeling helpless. Even this small step
Silvia Anderson - Victoria
“If political parties continue receiving political donations, we will rarely have politicians working for
Dan Chicos - New South Wales
“I only vote for people who will take urgent action to restore a safe
Susie Burke - Victoria
“Current government is not representing the opinion of the majority of Australian to meet
Neil Price - Tasmania
“We are fighting to rescue our kids' future from those who seek to steal
Vanessa Norimi - Queensland
“No time to waste Now or Never My vote is for NOW
Rosalie White - Victoria
“I am only 9 but I already care
Ava Bell - New South Wales
“From New Lambton Uniting Church - Caring for our world is a moral imperative.
Niall McKay - New South Wales
“Our federal govt is an International climate Embarrassment - its about time they stepped
Oriana Tolo - Victoria
“Vote earth this time!
Sue Cooke - Queensland
“We are in one on the wealthiest countries in the world. we have the
rowan huxtable - New South Wales
“The climate Emergency is the public health opportunity and urgent priority of the 21st
Mike Forrester - Victoria
“If they want my vote they better act now
Barbara McNiff - New South Wales
“We need to act locally now for the earth. Our only home. Vote Earth
Anne Miller - New South Wales
“I often look at the places I've known all my life and see how
Jim Baird - New South Wales
“Strike one For people power!!! Democracy might prevail outside the current cronyism that faces
Lorraine Bridger - New South Wales
“Our federal politicians Are Afraid to make action on climate change a major election
Jennifer Martin - New South Wales
“climate election, let's go!
Fahimah Badrulhisham - New South Wales
“Great to see this website that is a focus on action for climate change
Lynette Sinclair - New South Wales
“Let’s show politicians and the Murdoch media that climate change is by far the
Jane Aitken - Australian Capital Territory
“If you want to stay in power You need to take action to stop
Jane Bulter - New South Wales
“We are all that stands between terminal climate change and the vulnerable. We are
Carol Khan - Queensland
“We need a Government that Believes this is real and not taking money from
Ken Gray - New South Wales
“I'm voting for my childrens future
Anneliese Alexander - New South Wales