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Figure 1 – Global temperature map from modeled climate change scenarios. Source NASA

Climate change is the change in weather conditions over a period of 30 years of more. Our planet’s climate has changed throughout history, with ice ages and periods of warming, though never as quickly as it is changing now. The rate of climate change has significantly increased and although on average the climate is warming, the increase in temperature brings with it an increase in extreme weather conditions. Additionally, sea levels are rising more quickly than ever as seawater volume expands and ice caps melt.

Human activity has greatly accelerated the rate of warming across the planet, with scientific evidence clearly demonstrating the link between global temperature increase and human generated greenhouse gas emissions. We have already experienced a rise in average global temperature of around 1°C since the pre-industrial period (1) with Australia’s temperature increasing more than 1°C since 1910 (2). Greenhouse gas emissions come from many sources, but the biggest sources in Australia are burning fossil fuels, farming animals and clearing land (3).

Projected local climate change impacts for the Sydney region (4) include:

  • Maximum temperatures increases of up to 1.0°C by 2030 and up to 2.5°C by 2070. Minimum temperatures increases of up to 0.8°C by 2030 and up to 2.5°C by 2070.
  • Increased number of hot days (>35°C). On average, the region will experience an additional four hot days by 2030 and eleven more hot days by 2070.
  • Increase in extreme weather events such as heat waves, extended droughts, severe fire weather, hail storms and heavy rain or wind activity.

To learn more about climate change visit:

  • The Commonwealth Department of Environment website is a good site to keep in touch with developments on policy, research, and government rebates relating to energy efficiency.
  • The NSW Office of Environment, Energy and Science website provides information on how climate change will affect NSW, details on what actions are being taken by the State Government to tackle climate change.
  • The CSIRO provides comprehensive science to help Australia understand, respond to and plan for a changing climate.
  • The IPCC gives an international context to Climate Change, with rigorous science and guidance to support world governments in minimising emissions and responding to climate change.

References:

  1. IPCC, 2018: Summary for Policymakers. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. In Press. Retrieved from https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2019/05/SR15_SPM_version_report_LR.pdf
  2. CSIRO (20 December 2019) State of the Climate 2018, Australia’s Changing Climate. Retrieved from https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/OandA/Areas/Assessing-our-climate/State-of-the-Climate-2018/Australias-changing-climate
  3. Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy (2019) Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: March 2019, Commonwealth of Australia 2019. Retrieved from https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/6686d48f-3f9c-448d-a1b7-7e410fe4f376/files/nggi-quarterly-update-mar-2019.pdf
  4. NSW Government Office of Environment & Heritage (2014) Metropolitan Sydney Climate Change Snapshot [Sydney: Officer of Environment & Heritage]. Retrieved from https://climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/Climate-projections-for-NSW/Climate-projections-for-your-region/Metro-Sydney-Climate-Change-Downloads
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