Impacts of climate change
Climate change is one of the greatest social, economic and environmental challenges of our time. Human activity is
causing the climate to change. This, in turn, is having an impact on Australia's rainfall, temperatures, bushfire
frequency, health, heritage and biodiversity for current and future generations.
During the past 100 years, global average surface temperature increased by about 0.7 degrees Celcius. Since 1910
the average temperature of Australia has risen by about 1 degree Celcius. Although these increases sound small,
they have a big impact on the world's climate.
How will I be affected?
It is difficult to precisely predict what the impacts of climate change will be, as they vary with each region. Best
estimates are that by 2030 Australia will face:
- a further 1 degree Celcius of warming in temperatures
- up to 20 per cent more months of drought
- up to 25 per cent increase in days of very high or extreme fire danger
- increases in storm surges and severe weather events.
Australia is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. We are already the driest inhabited continent on earth,
heavily exposed to the dangers of extreme heat and drought. We are home to many globally important and vulnerable
ecological systems. Australians are overwhelmingly coastal dwellers. Our industries and urban centres face ongoing
water limitations. Our economy, including food production and agriculture, is under threat.
The longer we wait to act on climate change, the more it will cost and the worse its effects will be.
New map by UK Met Office: Global consequences of failing to keep temperature
change to under 2 °C