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IPCC report highlights climate risk for Australia

from:新华网2014-03-31 16:49

CANBERRA, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s latest report released on Monday highlights the risks of climate change to Australia, especially rural areas in the country.

The IPCC reports conclude that climate change is occurring as a result of human activities. This latest report from Working Group II confirms and reinforces the findings of the previous assessment report (AR4) published in 2004.

The Climate Council of Australian, an independent community- funded non-profit organization, welcomed the release of the report, which finds Australia is at increasing risk of heat extremes, bushfire weather and extreme rainfall. The report singles out the Great Barrier Reef as being at serious risk from rising ocean temperatures and acidity.

Climate Council's Professor Lesley Hughes, one of the lead authors of the IPCC report, said it highlighted the vulnerability of key Australian sectors like agriculture and coastal infrastructure to climate change.

"Many farmers are doing it tough and it may get tougher. The report warns of potential decreases in the productivity of the Murray Darling Basin due to a drying trend in the southeast," Hughes said.

"Bushfire weather is increasing. Just this summer we have seen an early and intense start to the fire season in New South Wales, as well as loss of life, and damage to property in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia."

"The Great Barrier Reef, the diamond in Australia's tourism crown, is at risk. At the current rates of ocean warming and acidification, coral reef systems will likely be irreversibly damaged, and possibly eliminated altogether, by mid to late century. If average global temperatures rise above 2 degree Celsius it is expected that few coral-dominated systems will survive," he said.

He said that reducing the risks of water shortages, bushfire weather, extreme heatwaves, loss of biodiversity and decreased agricultural production will depend on how rapidly the Australians are able to respond to the challenge of climate change.

"This is the critical decade to tackle the cause of climate change and stabilize the climate to avert the most serious risks," Hughes said.

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