Climate report 'nothing new'

Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull says there's nothing new in a UN report that predicts Australia is set for more extreme weather due to climate change.


The United Nations climate change report paints a grim picture for Australia with forecasts of rising temperatures, more intense and frequent fires, droughts and floods the ABC reported.

Several weeks ago, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted a dramatic world-wide increase in extreme weather, rising sea levels, acidic oceans and deadly heatwaves.

As reported by the ABC, the specific findings for Australia show within 800 kilometres of the Australian coast, average temperatures will warm from 0.1 degree to 1.3 degrees by 2020.

The mean temperature could be almost 7 degrees warmer than it is now, by 2080.

According to the UN report the rise in temperatures would result in more intense and more frequent heatwaves and fires floods, landslides, droughts and storm surges.

Mr Turnbull says the CSIRO has been warning of this for years.

He says the inter-governmental panel on climate change report is based on peer-reviewed published science and what's in it is well known.

Mr Turnbull told ABC radio the government already knows there's the possibility or probability of a hotter and drier future in southern Australia and is acting on the issue.

"We have a whole climate change adaptation framework under way," he said.

"We are very focused on adapting to climate change and you have to remember that the changes to our climate over most of this century, for all of our lifetimes in any event… are built into the systems," Mr Turnbull said.

Scientists also predict a reduction of up to 50 per cent in stream flows into the Murray Darling Basin; catastrophic damage to the Great Barrier Reef, and a significant increase in heat related deaths in major cities.

Anti-Deforestation funding

The UN report's findings come a day after Prime Minister John Howard committed $A200 million to establish a global fund to curb deforestation in South-East Asia.

The fund aims to halve the rate of deforestation worldwide by helping developing nations with programs to preserve their forests.

The plan hopes to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 10 times the reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol, and would be managed by the World Bank.

The United States has welcomed Australia's decision and described it as an ambitious initiative.

The money will target countries in the region like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Australia will sit down with New Zealand, Britain, the United States and Germany within three months to discuss the plan.

Indonesia, the biggest regional target of the funding, has already welcomed the plan, which would operate outside the Kyoto climate change pact – which Australia refuses to ratify – and would be funded by other developed nations.

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