World

Report lays bare Australia’s ‘sobering’ climate challenge

RISING temperatures are fuelling widespread environmental degradation across Australia and supercharging natural disasters, according to a government report released on Nov 23 in the wake of flash floods on the country’s east coast. 

The State of the Climate report found global warming was also slowly melting Australia’s fragile alpine regions while contributing to ocean acidification and rising sea levels. 

Climate researcher Ian Lowe said the report was a “frightening” wake-up call for Australia, which relies heavily on coal and gas exports for economic growth. 

“The scale of changes demonstrates that cleaning up our energy use is an urgent priority,” Lowe said. 

“We also need to reduce our exports of coal and gas.” 

The report, a joint effort between the government’s weather bureau and national science agency, found Australia’s climate had warmed by an average of 1.47°C since records began in 1910. 

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said it was “sobering” reading. 

“For our environment, for our communities, this report reinforces the urgent need for climate action,” she said. 

Australia has in recent years experienced a series of extreme weather events linked to rising global temperatures. 

Flash floods swept through parts of inland New South Wales earlier this month, tearing entire homes from their foundations in some country towns.

Tens of thousands of Sydney residents were ordered to evacuate in July when floods swamped the city’s fringe. 

An east coast flooding disaster in March — caused by heavy storms in Queensland and New South Wales — claimed more than 20 lives. 

Catastrophic bushfires swept through huge chunks of New South Wales in the “Black Summer” of 2019 and 2020, while the Great Barrier Reef has suffered four separate mass coral bleaching events since 2016. 

“These changes are happening at an increased pace,” the State of the Climate report found.

“The past decade has seen record-breaking extremes leading to natural disasters that are exacerbated by anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change.”
Prime Minister Anthony 

Albanese last two weeks unveiled a bid to host the 2026 COP summit, seeking to repair Australia’s international reputation as a climate change laggard. 

Albanese’s centre-left government introduced a 2050 net zero emissions target following its election earlier this year but has faced calls domestically to do more. 

University of Melbourne climate scientist Andrew King said Australia needed to rapidly cut its carbon emissions. 

“The consequences of our continued use of fossil fuels are clear in Australia like elsewhere,” he said. 

“We must act quickly to decarbonise our economy to limit further damages from worsening extreme events.” 

Ailie Gallant from the Australia Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes said the deterioration in the country’s climate would “continue without deep and aggressive cuts to carbon emissions”.AFP


  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition
Dzul

Recent Posts

Thaipusam: Over 300,000 people expected to visit Batu Caves

OVER 300,000 visitors are expected to throng Batu Caves in conjunction with the Thaipusam celebration,…

10 mins ago

ASEAN ministers urge Myanmar junta to implement agreed peace plan

SOUTHEAST Asian ministers at the end of two-day talks in Indonesia on Saturday urged Myanmar's…

56 mins ago

Land clearing in Selangor State Park done for ECRL project – Exco

THE Selangor Forestry Department (JPNS) has found that the alleged land-clearing activities in the Selangor…

1 hour ago

Penang latest state affected by floods

PENANG is the latest state to be affected by floods, with two relief centres (PPS)…

2 hours ago

AIROD and Indonesian partner eye potential US $300m MRO business

AIROD Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) group, is eyeing potential…

2 hours ago

Ringgit likely to trade at 4.25 level next week on back of China’s economic rebound

THE ringgit is likely to trade at the 4.25 level against the US dollar next…

3 hours ago