Climate change : how real is it, the issues and implications?
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Robert Miles
The community’s knowledge and understanding of climate change is fragmented and confused by a myriad of conflicting information and political posturing. This appears to be largely driven by commercial interests about climate change and its causes. What is needed is a readable objective synopsis of the available evidence to date and an evaluation of the likely impacts to the community, industry and the environment. The reason why this information is now needed is that many parts of the eastern sea board of Australia have in the past 50 years recorded a significant and progressive decline in average rainfall e.g. Mackay 80mm per decade (25% reduction based on historical metrological records). Projected declines include a further 15% reduction by 2030 and a further 40% reduction by 2070. Annual average temperature has also risen at rates higher than previously recorded changes. Implications of this decline in rainfall include risk and reliability in water supply, land use changes, health issues for the aged, energy use, agricultural productivity, industry restructuring, infrastructure planning, conservation and biodiversity, and pest and disease issues. It is the purpose of this paper to provide a practical and objective overview of what is known about climate change in Australia (with specific reference to Queensland) and what it will mean for business, the community and the environment. This pragmatic approach deals with the actual changes that are being recorded and the implications of these trends.