Australia 2070: we won’t recognize the environment according to CSIRO

The CSIRO has recently released a report (see here) on how climate change is going to radically impact the Australian environment. Even News Corporation publication The Herald Sun – home of Andrew Bolt – is reporting:

And the study’s lead researchers fear Australians may not be ready to accept the new way their country may soon smell, sound and look. 

The Commonwealth’s science and research body has produced the first “Australia-wide assessment of the magnitude of the ecological impact that climate change could have on biodiversity” and how the changes could be managed. 

It says totally new environments will emerge while others vanish and there will be a decline in forest environments, which will give way to shrubs and grasslands. 

“Climate change is likely to start to transform some of Australia’s natural landscapes by 2030,” said lead researcher Dr Michael Dunlop, from the CSIRO’s Ecosystem Sciences division. 

“By 2070, the ecological impacts are likely to be very significant and widespread.

And:

“Many of the environments our plants and animals currently exist in will disappear from the continent. Our grandchildren are likely to experience landscapes that are very different to the ones we have known.” 

The changes will be so profound that they will have major implications for management of the environment and, in particular, Australia’s national parks and nature reserves. 

“If future generations want to experience and enjoy our distinctive plants and animals and the wonders of the Australian bush, then we need to give biodiversity the greatest opportunity to adapt naturally in a changing and variable environment, rather than trying to prevent ecological change,” Dr Dunlop said. 

The study identified a range of management options, including ensuring there is plenty of habitat of different types available for plants and animals. 

“But one of the biggest challenges could be the community accepting the levels of ecological change that we could experience,” Dr Dunlop said.

There has been a steady chorus arguing for adaptation measures and planning to begin immediately. This is not to take away from the issue of mitigation – reducing CO2 emissions.

But the truth – the hard, scary, ugly truth –  is that we are going to overshoot safe boundary limits.

8 thoughts on “Australia 2070: we won’t recognize the environment according to CSIRO

  1. Skeptikal says:

    Wasn’t the Carbon Tax supposed to fix all that up?

    • john byatt says:

      No the carbon tax is Australia’s contribution to fix it all up, no where near enough though, but with a firm resolve we will get there, I am sure that even you do not wish to see your grandchildren suffer a global temp increase of 6Degc by 2100, maybe you simply do not give a toss,

    • Nick says:

      No,the carbon tax has multiple aims: to soften the impact of rising environmental cost feedbacks on the bulk of the community,while driving an improvement on CO2/unit output and sending signals of political will to the global community….while allowing our fossil-fuel industry to [cough] expand. Like the curates egg,it’s good in parts…

  2. Nick says:

    I’m having enough trouble keeping up with the changes already seen in the Oz environment due to the inexorable spread of exotic plants,many deliberately introduced.

    Since I were a lad,many forest understoreys in the northeast of NSW have been transformed by lantana invasion,changing the succession and fire dynamics.

    Land cleared from rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest to pasture has been recolonised by Camphor Laurel in near monocultures. Riparian communities have been transformed by Camphors,Privets, and now Celtis sinensis,Koelreuteria and Erythrina are following.

    Pastures up and down the tablelands are being invaded by a suite of introduced grasses like African Lovegrass. Isolated trees,and small groups of trees, are dying of old age,lack of recruitment, and the lack of biological support agents. Plant pathogens like Myrtle Rust have now arrived to wreak havoc on many of the Myrtaceae. These factors are already pushing large areas towards shrub and grasslands,even without the additive forcing of climate change.

    Though these issues are getting some attention,their real costs are unmet,and the community at large already has trouble accepting the levels of ecological change we have been experiencing for generations.

  3. James says:

    I’m with Nick – what he’s talking about is real tangible damage definitely caused by humans which we could and should be doing a lot more about.

    With regards the CSIRO, I’m afraid as far as Climate Science is concerned they lost credibility a long time ago. Remember they are the same guys who told us the drought was the new Australian climate. They also told us more than 10 years ago we’d probably never have another decent snow season again.

  4. […] 2012/09/18: WtD: Australia 2070: we won’t recognize the environment according to CSIRO […]

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