The Impact of Climate Change Upon Australia

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Executive Summary Illustrating the actual and potential impacts of climate change this paper seeks to dramatize the impacts climate change could have on Australia’s national security if action to cut carbon emissions is not taken. This paper recognizes that climate change, which can be defined as the gradual increase in temperature caused by the increased production of carbon dioxide, presents a fundamental national security challenge. This paper recognises that the Australian climate has increased significantly since 1910. Evidence is provided to suggest that Australia has a climate-sensitive economy, as the variations in climate and damage caused by extreme weather conditions produce significant social and economic costs. Climate related events such as droughts and rising sea-levels have had economic implications, such as the 2002-03 drought that is estimated to have reduced Australia’s agricultural output by 26%. Investigations of academic literature reveal that national security implications induced by climate change include heightened internal and cross-border tensions caused by large-scale migrations; conflict sparked by resource scarcity and increases disease proliferation. The research draws attention to scarce natural resources becoming increasingly attractive terrorist targets. Potentially any interference of Australian water supplies could cause serious injury, death and economic chaos. These potential acts of terrorism illustrate the need to take action against climate change, as does the increased threat of eco-terrorist who wage their own fight against carbon emission in support of environmental rights. The report concludes that environmental problems which cause security concern are now well recognised in po... ... middle of paper ... ...g sea level a wakeup call on climate change’, in Independent Media Centre Australia. October 2009, viewed 24th May 2010, . • Ungerer, C ‘The International Drivers of Australia’s National Security’, in Australian Strategic Policy Institute. September 2008, viewed 19th May 2010, . • Whitten, R ‘Climate Change and National Security’, in Association of the United States Navy. January 2010, viewed 22nd May 2010, . • Zell, R ‘Global climate change and the emergence/re-emergence of infectious diseases’, Journal of Medical Microbiology, vol. 293, 2004, p. 16-26.
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