My name is Billy and I am a volunteer with the AYCC in Victoria. I first heard about the AYCC through a friend during a discussion we were having about potential volunteer opportunities. She recommended them highly, and with climate change being something I already had an interest in, I was soon signing my first petitions and then expressed an interest to volunteer.
The fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). report is set to be released today. The report highlights the fact that we’ve missed our chance to limit warming to 1.5ºC. This report adds evidence to Australia’s need to take strong and ambitious climate action.
The report highlights the impacts of climate change on 7 regions across the world: Africa, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, Europe, North America, Small Islands, and South America. We’ve written this handy guide to all things IPCC. It contains everything you need to know, from extreme weather, energy, ecosystems, health, right down to the effect that climate change will have on your daily coffee!
“Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and the spread of plant diseases and pests are all projected to reduce the amount of coffee grown, particularly the high-quality Arabica.”
Climate change is likely to affect coffee production around the world, this is bad for coffee farmers and coffee lovers world wide. One - third of the world's coffee production comes from Brazil, a temperature rise of 3C would cut the area suitable for coffee production by two-thirds. It’s a similar story for coffee in Central America and Kenya, cocoa in West Africa, and for tea in Uganda. The report finds that adaptation will be impossible or limited in many cases.
“Heavy rainfalls are likely to become more intense and frequent during the 21st century in many parts of the region… .(projected to increase by as much as 40-50% in Australia), negatively impacting agriculture, drinking water quality, and ecosystems.”
Australia has just been through one of the hottest Summers, we broke over 157 climate records. It is clear that Australians are experiencing climate change now. This trend will continue.
An increase in the frequency and intensity of bushfires will also lead to increased soil erosion and degraded water quality.
“Warmer temperatures and more heat waves will likely to lead increased mortality and morbidity especially in vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, children, the poor, and people with cardiovascular and respiratory disorders.”
The impacts on Australia's health will be significant. Including increases in water and foodborne diseases, coping mechanisms for daily temperature and, climate change is expected to increase mental health risks associated with climate-related disasters, including severe drought, floods and storms. One of the hardest hit areas will be Queensland.
The Great Barrier Reef
“Extreme events have the potential to negatively impact coastal habitats and species and ocean acidification and an increase in bleaching events will adversely impact coral in places such as the Great Barrier Reef. Continued loss of this habitat will reverberate through the marine systems and affect tourism and coastal protection.”
Australia is home to the largest living thing: The Great Barrier Reef. It provides Australia with tourism Climate change is expected to degrade the Great Barrier Reef and reduce its attractiveness. In 2011 Cyclone Yasi caused $590 million worth of damage and damaged the Reef.
Ocean acidification and an increase in bleaching events will impact coral. Continued loss of this habitat will reverberate through the marine systems and affect tourism and coastal protection.
Ecosystems and Species
“There is a high risk of losing many of the world’s unique and valuable ecosystems, including some that “contain exceptional biodiversity”, with 4°C of warming or more. The services healthy ecosystems provide to humanity will disappear too, such as food, drainage, water and air purification, habitat, shelter, health & well being and tourism.”
Australia has one of the worlds most unique and diverse ecosystems. This report finds that 20 to 60% of birds and amphibian species are highly vulnerable to climate change. It suggests that 2-3 C of warming above pre-industrial levels would likely put 10-20% of species at risk of extinction.
Supply and Demand
“Increased summer peak demand, particularly in Australia, will place additional stress on energy networks and can result in black-outs. For example, during the 2009 Victorian heat wave demand rose by 24% but electrical losses from transmission lines increased by 53% due to higher peak currents, and successive failures of the overloaded network temporarily left more than 500,000 people without power.”
Fossil fuels are the largest contributor to climate change. The impacts highlighted in the report reiterates the need for our Government to invest in renewable energy.
Climate change will also have impacts on our current energy system by 2031-2070 due to increased bushfire risk and potential strengthening and southward shift of severe cyclones in tropical regions.