Climate Change Information
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What is Climate Change?

Climate change is the result of greenhouse gases (GHGs), principally carbon dioxide, building up in our atmosphere and helping to trap heat.  According to the vast majority of the world's scientists this has caused the climate to change globally.

Over the past two decades, the evidence that GHG is continuing to build-up as a result of human activities has become conclusive i.e. these changes have come about as a combined effect of increases in emissions, such as fossil fuel burning, and decrease in carbon sinks, such as reduced forest cover.

10 Myths of Climate Change

The following is an abridged version of the 10 main myths of climate change published by The Climate Institute.


What we know about climate change

The world is warming at a rate unprecedented in human history. Global air temperatures, humidity and rainfall patterns show a distinct ‘fingerprint’ that cannot be explained without the rise in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases caused by human activity.

The level of CO2 has risen sharply and is now about 30% higher than at any time for 800,000 years. Globally, the average temperature has risen by about 0.75°C over the last 100 years. The rate of warming is increasing and over the 50 years from 1956 to 2005 the world warmed about 0.13°C, on average, every decade.

In Australia, the mean temperature has increased between 0.7°C and 2°C  since 1960.  The number of days with record hot temperatures has increased each decade, with the decade from 2000 to 2009 being Australia’s warmest on record.

Australia's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Australia generates about 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, on a per capita basis, Australia is one of the world's largest polluters.  

For the year to June 2012, our national inventory emissions per capita were about 24.4 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per person. Only a few countries in the world rank higher — Bahrain, Bolivia, Brunei, Kuwait and Qatar.

Australia's per capita CO2 emissions are nearly twice the OECD average and more than four times the world average.

Impacts of Climate Change in Australia

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°C .  Since 1910 the average temperature of Australia has risen by about 1-2°C. Although these increases sound small, they have a big impact on the world's climate.

Reducing Australia's Emissions

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency states that if Australia takes no action by 2020 our carbon pollution could be 20 per cent higher than in 2000, not 5 to 25% lower as the Government intends.

According to many environmental groups and The Greens the current government target of 5 to 25% by 2020 will not be enough to avert dangerous climate change and suggest we should be aiming to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2020.

Why Plant Trees?

Trees have played a critical role in maintaining safe levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere for millions of years.

Trees remove and store CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. They do this by the process of photosynthesis i.e. they use the energy from sunlight to produce sugar, which cellular respiration converts into ATP, the "fuel" used by all living things.


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