Climate change policies in Australia


Climate change is a critical topic of discussion since various human activities pose a considerable threat to the stability of climate. All aspects of the hydrologic cycle are likely to be significantly affected by climate change. As a result, affecting sectors of importance to human existence like the economic sector, the health sector, and the agricultural sector. Owing to the location of Australia it is likely to be one of the most affected countries in the world. The state is likely to be hit by heatwaves which have far-reaching effects on the health and well-being of the population. Hence the need to come up with national policies to prevent human activities leading to climate change and mitigate the effects of climate change.

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According to Akter, & Bennett, (2011) the annual average temperatures are likely to increase by 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2030 and about 5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. Consequently, there is a likelihood of an increase in precipitation in the northwest region of Australia and a decrease in the south-east. Currently decreased rainfall has been experienced in the southern part of Australia more so during the planting period. Decreased rains also affect the groundwater causing a reduced supply and recharge, decreased freshwater availability on smaller islands and with increased demand by the industries and the community. Fulton, (2011) indicates that with increased temperatures, there is an expected rise in sea level of about 88 cm along the costliness. The increase in sea level will affect various sectors including the economy, environment, and public health.  About sixty percent of Australia population is in the cities thus two third of the economy is also generated in the cities. In reference to Hunt, & Watkiss, (2011), climate change and disasters affecting the built environment and the urban settlement can be detrimental to the populations and the economy of Australia. Some of the significant risks to the cities in Australia includes a risk of bushfires, heatwaves, and floods which might bring about destruction to the infrastructure, commercial building, communications utilities, and residential buildings.  Drier conditions can predispose heatwaves increasing the risk to human injury thus decreasing the average productivity.

To mitigate the effects of climate change on the environment and the population the Australian government has been keen on developing different policies with the aim of controlling human activities harmful to the environment. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2015) says that various international organizations like the united nations and other developed countries have established policies and guidelines to mitigate the effects of climate change.  According to McDonald, (2012) the Australian government is keen on implementing the Kyoto protocol whose primary goal is to limit the human-emitted greenhouse gases. To ensure proper implementation of the protocol the government has put in place the carbon control reduction scheme (CPRS). Further for appropriate management of the water resources, the government developed the “National Water Initiative Policy Guidelines for Water Planning and Management (2010)”. Jackson, Mooney, Hoverman, & White, (2012) suggest that proper guidelines are essential in protecting water sources and giving guidance in water planning and management bearing in mind the possible hydrological changes due to climate changes. The instructions are essential in ensuring that industries like the electricity generation, mining and agriculture are not affected by a sudden decrease in precipitation and the availability of groundwater.

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  1. Akter, S., & Bennett, J. (2011). Household perceptions of climate change and preferences for mitigation action: the case of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in Australia. Climatic change109(3-4), 417-436.
  2. Fulton, E. A. (2011). Interesting times: winners, losers, and system shifts under climate change around Australia. ICES Journal of Marine Science68(6), 1329-1342.
  3. Hunt, A., & Watkiss, P. (2011). Climate change impacts and adaptation in cities: a review of the literature. Climatic Change104(1), 13-49.
  4. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2015). Climate change 2014: mitigation of climate change (Vol. 3). Cambridge University Press.
  5. Jackson, S., Tan, P. L., Mooney, C., Hoverman, S., & White, I. (2012). Principles and guidelines for good practice in Indigenous engagement in water planning. Journal of Hydrology474, 57-65.
  6. McDonald, M. (2012). The failed securitization of climate change in Australia. Australian Journal of Political Science47(4), 579-592.
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