Last week, ACM released the 2022 Young and Regional reporting series: Our Climate Future.
We looked at what the future will look like for the regions with a rapidly warming climate.
Resoundingly, the message I heard from the experts I spoke with for the project was that climate change will be felt most keenly by regional Australians.
And this should come as a surprise to no one.
It's not a surprise to the people of Illaroo Road at Lake Cathie on the NSW mid-north coast, where their street is under constant threat of slipping into the ocean due to coastal erosion.
Nor is it a surprise to the Torres Strait Eight, who has had their home island transformed by climate change, causing landmass loss and soil degradation, devastating the group in which land is so tightly tied to culture.
Or the McCreath family, who are among growing number of Australian farmers who have packed up their livelihoods and moved away from increasingly unfarmable land.
And the people of flood-swamped Lismore on NSW's North Coast, where emergency services become so overwhelmed neighbours have to rescue each other and some 1400 households remain 'unlivable' due to flood damage. Lismore is not surprised.
A recent report by UN Environmental Program's states international efforts towards carbon emission reductions have fallen well short of goals to cap global warming by two degrees Celsius as set by the Paris Agreement at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference; COP21.
Alarmingly, the report said there was "no credible pathway" to capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius in place and "only an urgent system-wide transformation can avoid climate disaster".
When Australian leaders meet their international counterparts at COP27 this week, I hope they tell the stories of regional Australians. I hope we're at the forefront of their minds.
Because the climate disaster is already here for regional Australia.
And while our leaders try to figure it out - after decades of delay on any real climate action - it is Australians in the regions that bear the brunt of this emergency while they do.
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