Societal Impact of Climate Change in Australia
Climate change imposes certain effects on different aspects of human life. The effects might range from physical, economic, financial, physical, environmental, societal etc. Climate change imposes high social and economic costs on societies. Australia is one of the nations that will be hard hit by the high societal costs of climate change. Climate change in Australia will affect the public health sector causing an increase in costs that relate to increased injuries, pollution, and deaths due to environmental stresses. The essay that follows will address the various societal impacts that climate change will influence Australia.
Climate change in Australia is expected to cause a reduction in precipitation and an increase in evaporation. This condition is likely to lead to a water shortage problem that will persist into the near future. The water problem is estimated to intensify by the year 2030 (Izrael, et al 17). This scarcity in water will also affect biodiversity. Australia’s rich plant cover will be hit by water scarcity. Ecologically rich sites that include the Queensland Tropics and Great Barrier Reefs are at a risk of becoming obsolete by the year 2020 (Izrael, et al 17).
Population growth coupled with rapid encroachment into the coastal lines in South-East Queensland, are projected to cause an exacerbation in storms and coastal floods incidence in Australia. Production form forestry and agriculture is also expected to experience a decline by 2030. This will be followed with higher incidences of droughts and forest fires. A decrease in forest and vegetative cover will expose people and animals to unregulated temperatures. Changes in rainfall patterns and a rise in ambient temperatures will present special challenges that include death and trauma due to heat stress, increased incidence of infectious diseases, increased pollution etc. Heat stress alone is estimated to cause over 22,000 deaths annually (Izrael, et al 19 ).
The Australian economy is dependent on changes in climate. The national efforts of Australia in the adaption to the changes in climate coupled with the Co2 gas control measures will determine Australia’s chances of survival. Luckily, Australia’s adaptation potential is high. However, without the backing of the global CO2 mitigation efforts, the national adaptation efforts will not be sufficient. In absence of the global support, Australia will face societal consequences from climatic change. Agricultural production will decline causing the Australians to depend on food imports. The destruction of the great reefs will affect marine biodiversity, which will in turn affect tourism and other industries that are dependent on the reefs (Izrael, et al 19).
Climatic change is also expected to affect Australia’s export market. Australia will be forced to reduce her exports to cater for its population. The unfavourable terms of trade presented by her neighbours that will also be experiencing the economic effects of climate, change will further affect the export market. This means that Australia will have to export her surplus at lower prices. For its own survival, Australia must institute robust systems that will spearhead national adaptation efforts while at the same time inspiring the global community to play their role in mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases that lead to climatic change (Hughes 425).
In summary, climatic change is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. The destruction of forests and encroachment of protected ecosystems exposes the entire nation and world to impacts of climatic change. Global warming can only be controlled if all nations play their part in mitigating the CO2 emissions from their factories. Australia’s adaptation efforts will only be fruitful if it is backed by the global mitigation of CO2 emissions (Hughes 425 ).
Hughes, Lesley. “Climate Change and Australia: Trends, Projections, and Impacts.” Austral Ecology 28.4 (2003): 423-443. Print.
Izrael, Yu. A., S. M. Semenov, O. A. Anisimov, Yu. A. Anokhin, A. A. Velichko, B. A. Revich, and I. A. Shiklomanov. “The Fourth Assessment Report Of The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change: Working Group II Contribution.” Russian Meteorology and Hydrology 32.9 (2007): 551-556. Print.
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