The climate change threat

Learn about the threat of climate change, and explore useful climate change resources.

The scientific evidence,1, 2 clearly shows that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are interfering with Earth’s climate system, causing serious problems for the environment and people all over the world.3, 4 The last time there was so much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere was over two million years ago.5 Without substantial action, climate change poses a major threat to humanity and most living systems on Earth.6

The climates of New South Wales (NSW) and Australia are already changing.78 The State of the Climate 2020 report shows that Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.44 ± 0.24 °C since national records began in 1910, leading to an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events.9 Observations reveal that 2019 was the driest and warmest year on record for NSW and Australia.1011 The summer of 2019-20 was particularly severe, marked by extreme heatwaves, below average rainfall and strong winds that fuelled the most catastrophic bushfire season in recorded history.121314

The impacts of climate change on the people, environment and economies of NSW, Australia and the globe are expected to get worse over time.151617 However, the scale of these impacts will depend on how much greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced, and how long it takes.18

 

Useful climate change resources

EPA - NSW State of the Environment – Climate and Air theme webpage
Thumbnail of the State of the Environment - Climate and Air webpage
NSW Government - Adapt NSW website

Thumbnail of the Adapt NSW website
Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources - Australia’s climate change strategies webpage
Thumbnail of the Australia's climate change strategies website
CSIRO and BOM Climate Change in Australia website
Thumbnail of the Climate Change in Australia website
CSIRO and BOM State of the Climate website
Thumbnail of the State of the Climate 2020 website

References

1. IPCC (2014), Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland. URL: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/syr/ cited 9/11/2020

2. UNFCC website: Introduction to Science, URL: https://unfccc.int/topics/science/the-big-picture/introduction-science cited 9/11/2020

3. NSW Government, Adapt NSW website: Causes of climate change, URL: https://climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/About-climate-change-in-NSW/Causes-of-climate-change, cited 6/11/20

4. NSW Government, Adapt NSW website: Climate systems, URL: https://climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/About-climate-change-in-NSW/Climate-systems, cited 6/11/20

5. CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (2020) State of the Climate 2020, Commonwealth of Australia, November 2020, URL: https://www.csiro.au/~/media/OnA/Files/State-of-the-Climate-2020.pdf (PDF 3.9MB)

6. EPA (2018) NSW State of the Environment 2018, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Sydney South, December 2018, URL: https://www.soe.epa.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-05/18p1370-nsw-state-of-the-environment-2018-WEB_9-5-19.pdf (PDF 4.2MB)

7. NSW Government, Adapt NSW website: About climate change in NSW, URL: https://climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/About-climate-change-in-NSW cited 6/11/20

8. CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (2020) State of the Climate 2020, Commonwealth of Australia, November 2020, URL: https://www.csiro.au/~/media/OnA/Files/State-of-the-Climate-2020.pdf (PDF 3.9MB)

9. CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (2020) State of the Climate 2020, Commonwealth of Australia, November 2020, URL: https://www.csiro.au/~/media/OnA/Files/State-of-the-Climate-2020.pdf (PDF 3.9MB)

10. Bureau of Meteorology website: New South Wales in 2019: record warm and record dry, URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/annual/nsw/archive/2019.summary.shtml, Commonwealth of Australia, cited 6/11/2020

11. Bureau of Meteorology (2020) Annual climate statement 2019, Commonwealth of Australia, issued 9/01/2020, URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/annual/aus/2019/

12. Bureau of Meteorology website: New South Wales in 2019: record warm and record dry, URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/annual/nsw/summary.shtml, Commonwealth of Australia, cited 6/11/2020

13. Bureau of Meteorology (2020) Annual climate statement 2019, Commonwealth of Australia, issued 9/01/2020, URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/annual/aus/

14. Bureau of Meteorology (2020) Special Climate Statement 73 - extreme heat and fire weather in December 2019 and January 2020, Commonwealth of Australia, 17 March 2020, URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs73.pdf (PDF 1.53MB)

15. NSW Government, Adapt NSW website: Impacts of climate change, URL: https://climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/Impacts-of-climate-change, cited 6/11/20

16. EPA (2018) NSW State of the Environment 2018, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Sydney South, December 2018, URL: https://www.soe.epa.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-05/18p1370-nsw-state-of-the-environment-2018-WEB_9-5-19.pdf (PDF 4.2MB)

17. CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (2020) State of the Climate 2020, Commonwealth of Australia, November 2020, URL: https://www.csiro.au/~/media/OnA/Files/State-of-the-Climate-2020.pdf (PDF 3.9MB)

18. EPA (2018) NSW State of the Environment 2018, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Sydney South, December 2018. URL: https://www.soe.epa.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-05/18p1370-nsw-state-of-the-environment-2018-WEB_9-5-19.pdf (PDF 4.2MB), cited 6/11/20

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