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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation
    The Honourable Andrew McNamara

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Significant Potential Climate Change Impacts for Queensland

    Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation
    The Honourable Andrew McNamara

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Significant Potential Climate Change Impacts for Queensland

    The latest assessment of potential negative impacts from climate change shows Queensland has much to lose if current projections are realised.

    Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, Andrew McNamara, said climate change is a reality and society will have to change with it.

    Mr McNamara today released the report – Climate Change in Queensland: What the Science is Telling Us – compiled by the Queensland Government’s Office of Climate Change.

    “The report brings together the latest science on climate change, and outlines the projected impacts for Queensland so we can all understand the situation and respond appropriately to climate change,” Mr McNamara said.

    “No part of the Queensland community will be untouched by the impact of global warming and climate change.

    “Queensland has one of the most naturally variable climates in the world, and our climate is projected to become more variable and extreme in the future.

    “Icons like the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, are at risk of reduced biodiversity with a consequent decline in tourism benefits.”

    Mr McNamara said Queensland is particularly vulnerable to climate change because:
    • many of our important sectors (agriculture, tourism) are climate-dependent;
    • most of our population lives on the coast and are at risk from more extreme weather and rising sea levels;
    • our ecologically rich areas, such as the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics, are vulnerable to a significant loss of biodiversity.

    “Queensland is getting hotter, rainfall is decreasing and the incidence of extreme weather events is increasing,” Mr McNamara said.

    “Since 1950, Queensland’s annual average temperature has increased at a faster rate than the national average.

    “Across Queensland annual average temperatures are projected to increase with inland areas expected to warm more rapidly than coastal areas.

    “By 2030, annual average temperatures in Queensland’s coastal areas are projected to increase by up to 1.2 °C, and inland areas are projected to increase by up to 1.6 °C under a mid-range emissions scenario.

    “By 2070, annual average temperatures across the state are projected to increase by up to 5 °C if greenhouse gas emissions remain high.

    “Most of Queensland has experienced a substantial rainfall decline since 1950, with coastal areas south of Cairns experiencing declines more than 50 mm per decade.

    “A greater proportion of total rainfall now falls in extreme events, and there are longer periods between rainfall events.

    “Increased intensity of tropical cyclones is likely, but total numbers of cyclones may decrease.

    “Sea-level rise on the east coast of Australia may be greater than the global average, and likely to cause salt-water intrusion in the Torres Strait Islands.

    “Climate change is one of the most significant environment, economic and social challenges facing today’s world.

    “The Interim Garnaut Report has highlighted that the worst case climate change scenarios projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2000 now present the most accurate picture of what is happening.”

    The Queensland Government has demonstrated its commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change through the development and implementation of two key strategies of action.

    ClimateSmart 2050: Queensland Climate Change Strategy 2007 - a low carbon future - represents the next steps in a long-term investment to manage, adapt and mitigate against climate change.

    ClimateSmart Adaptation 2007-12 – includes specific initiatives to increase our resilience to the potential impacts of climate change.

    Climate Change in Queensland: What the Science is Telling Us is available for download at www.climatechange.qld.gov.au

    Media contact: Peter McCarthy 3336 8004