Five alternative futures for Australia in 2030 show how important today’s decisions are

Monday 22 February 2021

The Climate and Health Alliance has released its latest report, Australia in 2030, outlining five narrative scenarios describing possible alternative futures.


Australia in 2030 presents narrative scenarios for five possible alternative futures. These scenarios were developed during the Rewrite the Future Roundtable series hosted by Climate and Health Alliance during 2020.

The scenarios were developed by over 100 transdisciplinary thought leaders to prompt decision-makers and the public to consider the consequences of different choices involving social, technological, ethical, environmental, legal, ethical, and governance issues. 

Guided by futures experts, and drawing on the expertise of the thought leaders, four narratives seek to answer the questions: "What will Australia look like if over the next decade there is: no change; marginal change; maladaptive change; or radical transformative change?"  A fifth integrated scenario also surfaced during a process of 'backcasting' ie how do we get to our preferred future? This informed the development of the Healthy, Regenerative and Just policy agenda - the roadmap to our preferred future.

The Australia in 2030 scenarios aim to help decision makers and the wider community better understand the consequences associated with different policy choices, and to build consensus around a shared vision for a healthy, regenerative and just future for all.

Fiona Armstrong, Climate and Health Alliance Executive Director said: "If Australia continues to operate business as usual, the 'no change' scenario shows Australians experiencing declining health outcomes, further ecosystem loss, and social fracturing.

"Alternatively, we could set a course to a future in which Australia reduces its emissions by 45%, reimagines how we might live, and designs a sustainable future, in which we discover true progress; progress that is shared equitably across the community, and involves positive social, environmental, cultural and health and wellbeing outcomes.

"We urge decision-makers, fellow collaborators, policymakers, business leaders, civil society, influencers, academics, and the community to use these scenarios to provoke discussion, support conversations and dialogue, and guide planning for the future."

Professor Mark Howden, Vice Chair of the IPCC and Director of the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions said: "The decisions we make now about greenhouse gas emissions and about adapting to climate change will affect us in 2030 and for decades beyond. The choices we make now will put us on these different trajectories – different future worlds."

Dr Arnagretta Hunter, Australian National University Human Futures Fellow said: "2020 was a remarkably challenging year for humanity. As we emerge from this remarkable period, it is time to employ our imaginations deliberately and in collaboration. To take our understanding of science and explore ideas and challenges we’ve not yet experienced or perhaps conceived."


Media contact: Fiona Armstrong, [email protected] 0438 900 005

The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) is Australia’s peak body on climate change and health. CAHA has over 50 health and medical group members, including Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Public Health Association of Australia and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.