On a global scale climate change could cost as much as the two World Wars and the Great Depression combined. Yet by acting now, we can prevent the more serious impacts of climate change.
Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas releases the greenhouse pollution which causes climate change. Coal power is used to generate about 75 percent of Australia’s electricity. The good news is that that figure’s down from a peak of 84 percent at the end of 2008. Coal is our biggest single contributor to greenhouse pollution. Today, Australia’s 24 coal-power stations produce one-third of our greenhouse pollution. Australia may have large coal reserves, but we are also blessed with some of the planet’s best wind and solar resources.
No one’s saying we should turn off our coal power stations overnight. But the solutions for a clean energy future are ready and available right now. The longer we delay this inevitable transition, the more difficult it will be for our children and future generations. As we make this shift to clean, green technology of the future, we can ensure workers and families who are economically reliant on coal have a ‘fair go’.
Climate change will impact our country and our planet is a serious way.
A massive increase in refugees could be a serious problem as people flee areas hard hit by climate disasters and extremes. A U.S. Pentagon analysis concludes that climate change is more than just an environmental threat. It’s also a major security risk because of the widespread unrest and global upheaval that would follow massive droughts, floods and famines.
Australia’s climate has already changed. The summer of 2012/13 was the hottest summer since records began. Six of the first seven days of 2013 were among Australia’s hottest 20 days on record. 7 Jan 2013 was Australia’s hottest-ever day with an average maximum temperature of 40.30°C. It was a summer of bushfire, floods and extreme heat.
As the earth continues to warm we can expect more frequent and severe bushfires, droughts, storms and floods to Australia. Global mean air-temperature is projected to warm 2°C – 7°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, depending on future emissions. Rising sea levels will imperil coastal communities with erosion, flooding and landslides. Climate change will also harm our agriculture and tourism industries. Warming will bring more tropical diseases, and destroy world-famous national icons like the Great Barrier Reef. According to the UN, climate change is expected to cost the Australian economy $7 to $14 billion a year.