Climate change

A changing climate

The latest scientific report on climate change makes sobering reading.  It’s now certain that human influence has warmed our planet at a rate unprecedented in at least 2,000 years. 

It will be difficult now for the world to meet the goal to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C.  Instead, preventing global average temperatures increasing beyond 2°C above pre-industrial levels will require immediate and comprehensive action.  The intensity and frequency of extreme weather will increase under all feasible scenarios. In Australia, the triggers to the 2019-20 bushfires were made more likely and more severe by climate change.  

These impacts are being felt across our region too. The Port Phillip & Western Port region’s climate is becoming warmer, drier, more extreme and less predictable:

  • The average temperature has risen more than 1 degree over the past century
  • There are more hot days and heatwaves
  • Droughts and bushfires have become more frequent and severe
  • Average rainfall has fallen
  • Waterway flow volumes and timing have changed
  • Damaging winds, hail and flash flooding have become more frequent and severe
  • Sea levels have risen approximately 225 millimetres since 1880
  • Oceans have become warmer and more acidic
  • Native plants and animals are being adversely affected by climate while some pest plants and animals thrive.

These changes threaten to disrupt our regional economies, especially primary industries dependant on soils, weather, water, pest and disease control.   Climate change poses new risks to water and energy supplies, community health and wellbeing.  Extreme weather could overwhelm emergency and crisis responses. 

Climate change is likely to increase and complicate existing environmental stresses in unpredictable ways.  Helping the environment be resilient to these changes means doing a lot more of what we do now – protect the diversity of life, stop stealing nature’s living space and reduce the threats and pressures humans have brought to species and habitats.