desertSMART COOLMob on Climate Change:
Climate Change is real and is no longer a concept that we might need to worry about later. Forecasts vary, but we do know that our actions TODAY will affect our world of tomorrow. Even though it’s a global issue, there are things that we can all do to help.
Climate change, also known as enhanced global warming, is occurring as a result of a build up of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Whilst the greenhouse effect is a natural process that traps some heat from the sun to make our planet inhabitable, greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are being produced in large quantities from human activity. These activities include burning fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and natural gas) to make electricity and to fuel our cars. Too much of these gases are now in the atmosphere and they are trapping too much heat. As a result of climate change, we are likely to experience temperature rises which will affect weather patterns.
The CSIRO has predicted the following impacts for the Top End:
- Changes in extreme temperatures with more days reaching over 35°C;
- The average temperature in the NT may rise 0.2 to 2.2°C by 2030 and 0.8 to 7.2°C by 2070;
- Changes to rainfall patterns, including less rainfall for the Territory;
- Increased intensity of cyclones and storm surges
These predicted impacts may result in:
- Loss of native animals and plants that are unable to adapt to the changes;
- Impacts on our health, such as increased risk of heat stress and mosquito borne diseases;
- Increased losses due to natural disasters;
- Increased insurance premiums;
- and Lifestyle impacts as the arid zone get even hotter, that could mean difficulty keeping skilled workers in the Centre.
The World Meteorological Organization quotes the following as evidence that climate change has started:
- Global surface temperatures since 1862 increased by about 0.7°C over the 20th Century. Since 1976, it has warmed 3 times that amount.
- In order, the warmest years since recording began in 1861 are 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004;
- The lowest amount of Artic sea-ice cover was recently recorded;
- Changes to weather patterns, such as the first ever recorded hurricane in the South Atlantic Ocean in 2004.
See here for full CSIRO report here: http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/environment/greenhouse/publications/pdf/ntclimatechange.pdf
With the world’s population doubling every 30 years and more and more people gaining access to electricity and cars, there is concern that this problem is going to be exacerbated. Global warming will continue to increase at a greater rate unless the world community can work to bring emissions into check through energy efficiency and renewable energy. Some sectors are promoting nuclear power as a solution to climate change. Independent studies have shown that the difference nuclear power can make globally is very marginal and extremely costly.
Scientists predict that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% – 70% to stabilise the climate.
There is no single greenhouse villain we can point the finger at – everyone needs to do what they can. Since Australians are amongst the highest greenhouse gas emitters per person in the world, we all have a role to play through leading by example.
- Effects on NT – http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/environment/greenhouse/
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