Australia is on course to experience some of the world's most extreme temperature increases as well as more torrential rain and increased flooding, a new report shows.
In a climate report claiming to be the nation’s most comprehensive ever produced, the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology on Tuesday released data showing Australia could be on track for an average temperature increase of up to five degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
The global average increase is expected to be 4.8C.
The changes would include a reduction in average annual rainfall totals, but more frequent heavy rain leading to flooding, the report found.
CSIRO scientist Kevin Hennessy also pointed to harsher fire conditions across southeastern parts of the country, rising sea levels and warmer and more acidic oceans surrounding Australia.
“This research has been strongly aligned with the needs of Australia’s natural resources sector”, Mr Hennessy said.
The report suggests that Tasmania, for example, could become the nation’s chief food growing region as winter rains are predicted to increase on the island state in a move against the national trend.
In response to the report, Labor and the Greens have slammed what they say is federal government inaction on climate change.
“In an economy that relies on the environment through agriculture and tourism, it’s clear to everyone except Tony Abbott that this is the challenge of the 21st century,” opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler said in a statement.
“But we know Tony Abbott still lives in the 18th century and refuses to join the rest of us to face this challenge.”
Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said Mr Abbott’s denial of climate change puts the Australian population in danger.
She renewed calls for the closure of coal-fired power stations and a move to 100 per cent renewable energy as ways Australia can help manage and minimise the future impact of climate change.
“You can’t talk about the direction for the nation until you factor in what is coming with global warming, adapt to the current circumstances and get busy on reducing our emissions,” she told reporters.
Instead of waiting for global climate talks in November in Paris, Australia should take action as soon as possible, the Climate Institute said.
“This new data reinforce earlier analysis for Treasury that showed large chunks of the Australian economy will be whacked by global warming,” Institute boss John Connor said.
Sectors like agriculture, health, and ecosystems could be impacted well beyond their ability to adapt, he added.
AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE PREDICTIONS BY 2090
- Average temperature increases of up to 5.1C
- More heat extremes and fewer cold extremes
- More intense rainfall leading to flooding
- Fewer tropical cyclones, but proving more intense and reaching further south
- Harsher fire weather for south and east Australia
- More drought and less frost
- Rising sea levels
- More acidic and warmer oceans around Australia