Pressures affecting Australia’s climate

Component
Summary
Grade
Very high impact High impact Low impact Very low impact
Confidence
In Grade In Trend
Comparability
To previous years

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased since the industrial age, causing positive radiative forcing and increasing global temperatures

Australia’s emissions per capita are high relative to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations; however, emissions decreased between 1990 and 2015

GHG emissions will continue to place pressure on the climate, with changes in temperature, rainfall and extreme events

Year(s): 
2016
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Comparable

Under policy settings applying before the release of the Australian Government’s Securing a Clean Energy Future plan, Australia’s emissions were projected to grow by 113 MtCO2-e (19.6%) between 2010 and 2020. This would have brought Australia’s annual emissions (including emissions from land use, land use change and forestry) to 690 MtCO2-e in 2020, an increase of 23% from 2000 levels. To achieve the nation’s minimum target of a 5% cut on 2000 levels by 2020 will require a reduction of 159 MtCO2-e (23% compared with the projected 2020 level). The Securing a Clean Energy Future plan aims to achieve this reduction by 2020. To achieve Australia’s 15% conditional target, a 31% reduction would be needed  Climate change modelling indicates that average temperatures will rise, the number of dry days will increase, and intense rainfall events will increase in many areas. More frequent bushfires, dust storms and heatwaves and attendant impacts on human health can all be expected

Year(s): 
2011
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed
Keywood MD, Emmerson KM, Hibberd MF (2016). Climate: Pressures affecting Australia’s climate. In: Australia state of the environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra, https://soe.environment.gov.au/assessment-summary-31-pressures-affecting-australias-climate, DOI 10.4226/94/58b65c70bc372