Our climate is changing, largely due to the observed increases in human produced carbon pollution. These changes we have seen over the 20th century include increases in global average air and ocean temperature, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global sea levels. The extra heat in the climate system has other impacts, such as affecting atmospheric and ocean circulation, which influences rainfall and wind patterns.
Another serious impact of increasing carbon pollution is ocean acidification. Around a quarter of human-produced carbon dioxide is absorbed by the oceans. As the carbon dioxide dissolves in sea water it forms a weak carbonic acid, making the ocean more acidic. There are early indications that some marine organisms are already being affected by ocean acidification.
Each decade in Australia since the 1940s has been warmer than the last—2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record in Australia and around the globe.
Scientists agree that the worst effects of climate change can largely be avoided if we can reduce pollution to an acceptable level.
The Australian Government is building a Clean Energy Future through a comprehensive plan to dramatically cut pollution, introduce a carbon price, invest billions of dollars in renewable energy, transform the energy sector away from high polluting sources such as brown coal, and store millions of tonnes of carbon in the land through better land management.