Climate change trends

The climate change 'horizon scan' aims to identify and analyse future trends relating to an assessment of risks, opportunities and engagement areas for the EPA.

In a world where social, economic, technological, environmental and political forces are rapidly driving change, keeping abreast of emerging issues and trends to prepare for opportunities and challenges is a vital part of decision-making.

To do this, we use a technique called horizon scanning. Horizon scanning is a foresight analysis technique that involves collecting and assessing information in a way that gives insight on a focus topic. In this case, our topic is climate change.

Conducting an annual horizon scan is part of our commitment in the Climate Change Action Plan and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (PDF 1.9MB).

Our first horizon scan draws on international and local sources to identify 8 significant trends which may influence the causes and consequences of climate change over the next 30 years. Our scan is a decision-support tool that assist us in ensuring our commitments and actions under the Climate Change Action Plan are responsive to emerging issues and trends. In this way, the scan does not propose specific new commitments or actions.

There are 8 core 2022 climate change trends.

Flooding at Windsor Bridge, Windsor, NSW March 22, 2021Increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events

Increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events such as droughts and floods alongside ocean warming and acidification, increasing fluctuation in air temperatures and rising sea levels are posing significant threats to communities, ecosystems and the built environment.

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Increasing transition in human settlement and industry land-use patterns

Increasing risks of land, property and infrastructure damage along with increasing concern of underinsurance are likely to change the liveability and profitability of certain regions with potential impacts on human settlement and industry patterns.

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Accelerating transformation of the food and agriculture industry

Increasing attention to agricultural emissions is driving innovation in mitigation practices and monitoring. Increasing frequency and intensity of droughts, floods and extreme events are requiring greater consideration of adaptation, ranging from small scale improvements to a holistic relocation of entire industries.

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Dust storm in Mildura, 2015Rising concern on human health implications of climate change

There is increasing attention to the interlinked nature of climate change and health, including the impact of climate change on reduction in air quality, creating conditions for increased disease transmission and negatively impacting mental health.

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A technician checks the possible remaining voltage of a completely burned Lithium-ion car battery before its dismantling by the German recycling firm Accurec in Krefeld, Germany, November 16, 2017. Picture taken November 16, 2017.

Cleaner and greener practices across public and private sectors

Government and private industries are increasingly turning toward new technological innovations to improve circular economy practices and reduce GHG emissions.

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Hydrogen storage

Increasing innovation and transition challenges in energy creation, storage and use

Government and private industries are increasingly turning toward new technological innovations to improve circular economy practices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Spraying sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere

Growing bio-engineering responses

While ecosystem management and conservation efforts are accelerating, there is also an increasing interest in technological, bio and geo engineering interventions.

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School Strike 4 Climate

Increasing prominence of climate change in public and business sentiment

Greater dialogue and scrutiny of governments and private institutions. Businesses are being pushed to do more to consider climate change mitigation and adaptation and political will in Australia is shifting.

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