Plico Team 26/03/2024 41 min read

Climate change reality check, hope and action after COP28

One of the most pressing challenges facing every inhabitant of planet Earth is climate change. Making it even more challenging is the fact that it’s a gradual process - we don't necessarily notice a significant change from one day to the next, meaning it’s not always top of mind. But make no mistake - climate change is having a very real impact on our world in a variety of ways.  

What is the latest research saying, and what can we do about it? That’s what we’re covering in this blog.   


Climate change - where are we at? 

The research, dialogue and action on climate change has been building for many years. But what is the latest information telling us? 

At the end of 2023, the United Nations Climate Change Conference converged for COP28 in the United Arab Emirates. Some 85,000 people attended, including over 150 Heads of State and Government, in addition to national delegations, business, Indigenous Peoples, youth and more.  

Part of this meeting included a ‘global stocktake’, essentially taking a bird’s eye view of the world’s progress towards meeting agreed targets, primarily  to limit global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels - and the results weren’t glowing.  

Global emissions are not being limited sufficiently to meet the 1.5 C target, and adaptation to meet the climate crisis is lacking. The Paris Agreement - which called for combined, cooperative action - has coordinated action and targets, but its implementation has been insufficient so far. 

Financial and technological support for vulnerable nations - those with limited capacity to adapt, and significant impacts on their societies - is also insufficient to meet the crisis.  

More action is needed, and COP28 brought the spotlight specifically to the issues of energy transition and the future of fossil fuels.  


Global action from COP28 

Participants at COP28 arrived at a decision to accelerate action across all areas by 2030. One of the key themes is a call on governments to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels - a move that until recently has been contested, but science has shown is mandatory in order to meet the 1.5 C target. In combination with a movement towards renewables such as solar and wind power, this move is a powerful way in which the world can mitigate the negative effects of climate change.  

In addition, COP28 agreed to a deadline of 2030 to triple renewables capacity and double energy efficiency. 

There is also strong agreement to support developing countries in their efforts. 

All governments must now prepare economy-wide national climate action plans, to align with the 1.5 C temperature target. These must be accompanied by credible climate policies and regulations. A price on carbon and ending finance for fossil fuel are among the mandates.  

This is a big shift away from business as usual, and a necessary step to create a healthier planet that can sustain all living things into the future, including us!  


Australia’s progress 

The Australian federal government has promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030. It has also committed to a ‘net zero’ result by 2050.  

As of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) September 2023 quarterly update report, emissions were 25.4% below 2005 greenhouse gas emissions.  

This means Australia is projected to have reduced emissions by 37% below 2005 levels by 2030 (compared to the 43% target), and by 49% by 2035. 

The majority of the decline in emissions is projected to originate from the electricity industry, because of the focus on increased renewables, with a decline of 75% between 2023 and 2035. The Australian government has indicated support and policy to facilitate this shift to renewables.  

Another key activity from the government is the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, outlined in 2023. It also involves a vehicle Fuel Efficiency Standard, making EVs more accessible to Australians and lowering fuel consumption (and cost). 

With 2022 EV sales at 3.8% of national vehicle sales, Australia is lagging behind other countries. By comparison, global EV sales were 14% of the car market in 2022. As a percentage of new car sales, EVs make up 29% in China, 23% in the UK, 21% in the EU, and 8% in the US. Taking it a step further, in the EU sales of new CO2-emitting cars are set to be banned by 2035. 

Australia has made progress, but there is more work to do. 


What can I do? 

While the task of tackling climate change and keeping global warming to just 1.5 C may feel monumental, there are powerful things we can all contribute. Political and systemic adaptation is critical, but believe it or not, when individual actions add up, they can make a notable difference too.  


Reduce your home energy usage  

Saving energy in your home is a powerful way to save money, particularly because heating and cooling account for about 40% of household energy use 

Saving energy, then, is also one of the biggest ways you can take action on climate change from the comfort of your own home. Let’s keep it simple with some practical ideas.  


If we want to save energy and stay cool, there are plenty of options. Instead of turning on the A/C, try these: 

  • Use the ceiling fan (especially at night when the temperature is already lower). 
  • Using A/C? Turn it on early, and avoid going any lower than 24 C. This way your unit doesn’t have to work so hard. 
  • Review/ upgrade your home insulation to make the most of your other heating and cooling efforts.  
  • Install reflective curtains and blinds, awnings and shutters 
  • Open all the doors and windows (when not using the air conditioner) to maximise cross breezes. 
  • Turn off the TV and other appliances - when you’re not using them - because they use energy and can generate unnecessary heat. 


During the cooler months, using appliances for heating can really increase your energy usage. Try these simple (but often overlooked!) options instead: 

  • Grab an extra layer of clothing, socks, blankets and cushions instead of turning on the heating appliances. 
  • Use a hot water bottle to pre-warm your bed, for that extra snuggly feeling. 
  • Use the clothesline and our Aussie sunshine to dry your clothes instead of the clothes dryer. 
  • As for cooling, review or upgrade your home insulation to keep warm air in. 
  • Add thermal lining to internal window coverings. 
  • Seal gaps around windows and use door snakes to stop drafts. 


Another high energy usage activity is cooking. Here are some ways to reduce your energy usage while preparing meals: 

  • Use the BBQ instead of cooking inside during the summer, keeping additional heat outside. 
  • Choose cooler options such as salads and cold meals to avoid unnecessary heating. 
  • Choose electric appliances - then use to solar + battery to make the most of your electrical appliances, powering them with solar energy day and night! 


Review your transport options 

As of 2020, transport was responsible for 18% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Cars take the largest share, at 47%. As individuals, then, we have very real power to influence these emissions. Here are some ideas: 

  • Take public transport. When you jump on a bus or a train, you’re joining a vehicle that’s already on the road, therefore not adding emissions!  
  • Ride your bike or walk. Not only is it good for your health, it’s also great for the environment.  
  • Reduce your travel, if you can. Could that in-person meeting be held over the phone or via video conference? Could you combine a couple of trips into one, such as grabbing groceries on the way home from work? Think creatively. 
  • Consider purchasing an EV, for your next car purchase. They’re becoming more affordable, infrastructure is improving, and they can be powered by renewable energy - such as when you combine it with a Plico solar + battery solution 

It’s not necessarily about sacrifice - it’s about making mindful choices and realising the difference you can make. 


Reconsider how you shop + take action 

Everyday life presents lots of opportunities to lower our personal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.  

When shopping (whether it be food, clothing, household goods or any number of things), consider the environmental footprint of your purchase and ask yourself these questions: 

  • Could I choose something produced locally?  
  • How could I find something that’s travelled the least distance to get to me?  
  • Could I buy reused instead of new?  
  • Is there a more sustainable choice (such as energy rating, materials used in production etc)? 
  • What will happen to this item at the end of its life? Can it be recycled or reused?  

Other than taking action in your everyday life, you can also make your voice heard on the issues you feel strongly about. Write to your local politician, write to the government, support organisations doing the work you believe in, and vote for the party making the most difference, when it comes time.  

As António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations said in his closing address at COP28,  

“The world cannot afford delays, indecision, or half measures.

I remain confident that despite many differences, the world can unite and rise to the challenge of the climate crisis.  

Multilateralism remains humanity’s best hope. 

It is essential to come together around real, practical and meaningful climate solutions that match the scale of the climate crisis.” 


All of us have the power to make a real difference, today. 

Saving energy is good for your wallet, the planet, and our energy networks.  And of course, making the switch to clean energy like solar is a huge step towards taking action on climate change. If you don’t have solar, or have solar and want to store your energy to use at night, talk to Plico today about the benefits of a solar battery solution. It will help you lower your household carbon emissions and save you money in the process. 

Don’t delay - book in your obligation-free call today. You can view our different solar + battery, battery only or solar only systems by clicking here or calculate your projected savings with our Solar Savings Calculator. You can also get in touch with one of our switched-on team members by calling 1300 175 426 to see how a solar + battery system can help you save.


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