Sadly, the science of climate change is stronger than ever: Garnaut Media Release

Mar 11, 2011 - 11:30pm


Professor Ross Garnaut’s update on the climate science shows that the window of opportunity to deliver a policy mechanism that reduces pollution and drives investment in clean energy is fast closing, the Climate Institute said today.

“Garnaut’s updated review of the science is a gust of reality raging into the fear campaigns and squabbling of our politicians,” said John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute.

“Climate change is progressing faster than forecast meanwhile our politicians are dragging the chain on policies to reduce pollution and drive clean energy investments.”

The scientific community’s confidence in their observations and forecasts  has  strengthened, along with the seriousness of climate change impacts but our leaders keep failing the key test of climate policy: a price on pollution and other policies to drive clean energy investment and energy efficiency.

Among the impacts on Australia of a rapidly changing climate, Professor Garnaut’s latest review found:

  • Unprecedented warm sea surface temperatures in 2010 contributed to the record rainfall and high humidity across Eastern Australia in winter and spring.
  • Nearly 250,000 homes—together with essential infrastructure—could suffer inundation and storm damage as sea level rose and more ferocious storms ensued; estimated to cost up to $63 billion dollars within the century. The coast around Sydney is particularly vulnerable.
  • While heavy rainfall in 2010 ended a decade-long dry spell in much of southern and southeastern Australia, the southwest suffered its driest year on record, including record low inflows to Perth’s water storages. There is good scientific evidence to say that climate change is, in part at least, responsible.
  • At the same time, there is an increasing risk of flooding as rainfall becomes concentrated into more intense torrential downpours.
  • The frequency of tropical cyclones is decreasing but their wind speeds are increasing, making for storms potentially more costly in lives and property.
  • The intensity, frequency and extent of droughts is projected to rise in coming decades if there is insufficient action to arrest the rise in pollution.

For further information:
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute |  02 8239 6299

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