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Scorching increase in bushfire danger

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Canberra could be facing a nearly 70 per cent increase in dangerous bushfire weather in less than seven years as the result of climate change, according to Australia's Climate Commission.

The report, The Critical Decade 2013, to be released on Monday, paints a grim picture of the future for the ACT as a result of unchecked climate change, including a rising death toll from extreme-heat days, dwindling inflows to the city's major water storages and further reductions in winter and spring rainfall.

''The decisions we make from now to 2020 will largely determine the severity of climate change our children and grandchildren experience,'' the report states.

The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology predict the number of days where the temperature climbs above 35 degrees in Canberra will rise from the current long-term average of 5.2 days a year to eight by 2030 and between 10 days and 18 days by 2070, depending on the action taken.

One of the report's two authors, Professor Will Steffen, said many of the predictions climate scientists made in the 1970s and '80s were becoming reality as communities began to suffer more-damaging storms, major bushfires and prolonged droughts.

''Canberrans hardly need reminding about the devastation bushfires can cause. If you look at the data since about 1973, 16 of the 38 observation stations show the fire danger rating has increased, while the remainder haven't gone down. Of particular importance for Canberra is that most of those 16 stations are in the south-east corner and Canberra's right in the middle of that,'' Professor Steffen said.

Meeting global targets to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees meant the world would have to commit to using no more than 20 per

cent of the estimated fossil fuel reserves still available.

''We are at a crossroads. If we want to meet the 2 degree target we've got to really get cracking on that, and that means leaving most of the stuff in the ground,'' Professor Steffen said.

Changes in rainfall meant summer rains could increase in Canberra, but in terms of the number of extreme-heat days the ACT was already experiencing nearly double the long-term average.

The already endangered northern corroboree frog is also likely to be placed under further pressure, and the number of frosts in Canberra could decrease by up to 27 per cent by 2050.

But Professor Steffen said the tangible evidence of climate change had led to a change of attitude in the community and he was hopeful there would be further action.

''Humanity has always met challenges by changing behaviour and innovating, otherwise we would still be using stone tools. It's not too late to make the necessary changes.''

15 comments

  • Another climate change/global warming SCARE article about what it's gonna be like in 2070. Come on, what's the chances these days of living past 100?

    NEXT?

    Commenter
    Mr Gillespie
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    June 17, 2013, 11:54AM
    • Im more concerened with what the ACT Gov is going to do to help prevent these fires. The ACT relies strongly on volunteer firefighters who create preventitive methods to protect the ACT bushland surrounding suburbs but are there enough volunteers if there is a crisis?.

      Commenter
      E
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      June 17, 2013, 12:51PM
      • Looking as far ahead as 2070 is a bit of a bonus really. According to Steffen and Flannery we are all supposed to be dead or similar doomspeak from climate change well before then according to their previous silly predictions. With this latest sort of an extension we can fit in a generation of grand children before it's all over.

        Commenter
        Arthur McKenzie
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        June 17, 2013, 1:10PM
        • Yes but at least with the grandkids we can teach them how the Hard Left tried to hijack science to impose a socialist takeover using the trojan horse of "climate change".

          Maggie Thatcher used to give it to the lefties in spades...no wonder they hated her.

          I say lets carry on where she left off!

          Commenter
          Realist
          Date and time
          June 17, 2013, 2:03PM
        • We will have died from the effects of climate change by 2070? More likely we will all have died of cancer or heart disease or whatever it is that prevents us from living much longer than 80.

          Commenter
          Mr Gillespie
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          June 17, 2013, 5:05PM
      • There has been no global warmingf or the last 15 years......

        Oh...hang on........*crash*

        Whoops...that was the (remnants ) of the IPCCs credibility going through the floor.

        JACCSMM - Just Another Climate Change Scare Mongering Moment.

        Seriously - you lefties need to get out more. See the world, take a break , put your feet up, that sort of thing....

        Next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Commenter
        Wombat
        Date and time
        June 17, 2013, 2:00PM
        • Oh what, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact we are heading back into a normal drought cycle? It has nothing to do with intermittent, temporary sun spot flare ups? The bushfires that the ACT experienced in 2003 had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that grasslands hadn't been burnt off as a precaution prior to that summer? Honeslty, why has the so-called 'science' of this debate descended into this alarmist, sloganeering drivel? The geological record demonstrates that the Earth has been hotter than it currently is at various points throughout history. Surely scientisits themselves get offended at their years of research into variable environmental factors being dumbed down into the catch all of "climate change." I don't deny that there is significant evidence pointing to a shift in the Earth's climates, but how about we get back to real discussions about all the factors at play? It isn't just about CO2.

          Commenter
          Adam Newstead
          Date and time
          June 17, 2013, 2:24PM
          • The reality is, the carbon price is window dressing when we export such massive amounts of coal. If the issue is so pressing and such a moral imperative, we wouldn't export the means of destruction: coal. Compared to that, what we do locally means little.

            Commenter
            John
            Date and time
            June 17, 2013, 2:34PM
            • Exactly! A few years ago the 'experts' predicted seriously dry weather conditions in Canberra for a number of years. 12 months later we had a year with above average rainfall.

              Commenter
              XR
              Location
              Canberra
              Date and time
              June 17, 2013, 9:52PM
          • I'M A creationist and don't believe either in evolution or global warming. But last week i watched a documentry about evolution called "seas of life." And there was these rediculuse scientists making all these rediculuse comments how all life had evolved from the sea in the first place. They also mentioned many periods of climate changes true the ages ,and went on saying how those climate changes helped evolution to come about.
            The only sense they made was that climate change has been happening all along even before Adam was created. But now they are saying that climate change is indangering our planet instead of them saying that climate change is continuing to be an evolution helper. But not only that if life came from the sea how come each time a whale or a pod of whales beach themselves evreybody try and push them back into the sea. instead of leaving them on the beach and see if they start evolving legs and walk away onto land.
            So here we have both climate change, and whales beaching themselves , and science are worried about both . They push the whales back into the sea. and they try to change the climate to suite themselves. .Bloody hell talk about scientific confusions.

            Commenter
            Benson Kane
            Location
            Melbourne
            Date and time
            June 17, 2013, 3:00PM

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