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Quarterly Essay Issue 94 : Highway To Hell


QE94 - June 2024

Highway To Hell


Australia is in peril. Do we truly grasp the impact of a warming planet – in particular, what it will mean for our sunburnt country? As temperatures rise, the climates of our capital cities will change. The sea will rise, and we will see increased fire and drought.

In this powerful essay, Joëlle Gergis, a leading climate scientist, depicts the likely future in vivid and credible detail. Working from the science, she discusses the world’s and Australia’s efforts to combat climate change. She outlines how far Australia is from keeping its promises to cut emissions. She takes aim at false solutions and the folly of “adaptation” rather than curbing fossil fuel use. This is an essay about government paralysis and what is at stake for all of us. It’s about getting real, in the face of an unprecedented threat.

“How many disasters does it take to wake people up to the fact that Australia’s climate is becoming more extreme, with today’s destruction set to be dwarfed by things to come? Do people realise that adapting to climate change won’t be possible in some parts of the country?” — Joëlle Gergis, Highway to Hell