Global Warming Summary
Australia is the highest emitter of greenhouse gases per capita in the developed world. It is one of the major exporters of coal, the burning of which releases Carbon Dioxide. It is also one of the countries most at risk from climate change according to the Stern report. This is partially because of the size of its agriculture sector and long coastline.
Australia is vulnerable to changes in temperature and precipitation projected for the next 50 to 100 years, because it already has extensive arid and semi-arid areas, relatively high rainfall variability from year to year, and existing pressures on water supply in many areas. In addition, vulnerability arises due to high fire risk, Australian ecosystems sensitive to climate change, and invasion by exotic animal and plant species introduced by human activity. Australia also has a high concentration of population in coastal areas, an economy strongly dependent on world commodity prices, tourism dependent on the health of the Great Barrier Reef and other fragile ecosystems, and economically and socially disadvantaged groups of people. Impacts of climate change will be complex and to some degree uncertain, but increased foresight would enable us to optimise the future through planned adaptation and mitigation.
Global warming will have a higher impact on Australia's coastal communities, due to the concentration of population, commerce and industry. Evidence from climate modelling suggests that a temperature rise of 1-2°C will result in more intense storm winds, including those from tropical cyclones. Combine this with sea level rise, and the result is greater flooding, due to higher levels of storm surge and wind speed. Tourism of coastal areas may also be affected by coastal inundation and beach erosion, as a result of sea level rise and storm events. At higher levels of warming, coastal impacts become more severe with higher storm winds and sea levels. Suburbs of Sydney like Manly, Botany,...