International Report Highlights Climate Risk for Australia
31 March 2014 at 2:47 pm
The Not for Profit Climate Council says a new global report on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, finds Australia is at increasing risk of heat extremes, bushfire weather and extreme rainfall.
The report singles out the Great Barrier Reef as being at serious risk from rising ocean temperatures and acidity.
Climate Council’s Professor Lesley Hughes, one of the lead authors of the IPCC report, said it highlighted the vulnerability of key Australian sectors such as agriculture and coastal infrastructure to climate change.
“Many farmers are doing it tough and it may get tougher. The report warns of potential decreases in the productivity of the Murray Darling Basin due to a drying trend in the southeast,” Prof Hughes said.
“Bushfire weather is increasing. Just this summer we have seen an early and intense start to the fire season in New South Wales, as well as loss of life, and damage to property in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
“Australia’s natural treasures continue to be threatened unless action is taken now to reduce the effects of climate change on our environment.
“The Great Barrier Reef, the diamond in Australia’s tourism crown, is at risk. At the current rates of ocean warming and acidification, coral reef systems will likely be irreversibly damaged, and possibly eliminated altogether, by mid to late century.
“If average global temperatures rise above 2°C it is expected that few coral-dominated systems will survive.
“Reducing the risks of water shortages, bushfire weather, extreme heatwaves, loss of biodiversity and decreased agricultural production will depend on how rapidly we are able to respond to the challenge of climate change.
“This is the critical decade to tackle the cause of climate change and stabilise the climate to avert the most serious risks.”
The Climate Council is an independent community-funded Not for Profit organisation.
|Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report: Key findings|
1. The IPCC reports conclude that climate change is occurring as a result of human activities. This latest report from Working Group II confirms and reinforces the findings of the previous assessment report (AR4) published in 2004.
2. There is increased evidence that climate change is already affecting many natural and human systems and poses significant risks to human health, ecosystems, infrastructure, agricultural production and communities.
3. Key findings for Australia include:
4. Reducing the risk in Australia of water shortages, bushfire weather, extreme heatwaves, and decreased agricultural production will depend on how rapidly we are able to reduce carbon emissions locally and globally, and on the how effectively we are able to implement adaptation measures.
5. The IPCC is the most authoritative international body on climate change science and impacts. IPCC assessment reports are subject to an extremely rigorous review process.