Queensland climate impacts and opportunities
Queensland’s climate is already changing and is likely to change further in the future, posing significant risks for the state. The next chapter of the climate story is about how Queenslanders, and Australians, can find solutions that minimise the risks of climate change while providing extra benefits for our health, community, economy and environment.
Queensland’s agricultural industries are at risk from climate change.
- Agricultural productivity is affected by climate change through: higher temperatures; changes in the amount, intensity, seasonality and variability of rainfall; and changes in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme events such as droughts, bushfires and floods.
- As a result of climate change, beef, sugar and cereal production in Queensland is expected to decline.
- Queensland farmers are accustomed to dealing with a highly variable climate, but in the future, new risk management and adaptation strategies will be even more important as the climate changes.
Queensland’s tourism industry is at risk from climate change.
- Tourism is a key industry for Queensland, employing 120,000 people and attracting tourists from around the world. Queensland’s tourism industry relies on its unique local attractions including sandy beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, and World Heritage rainforests.
- In the last three months of 2011, visitors to tropical North Queensland spent $735 million. Higher temperatures and changing rainfall will place the rainforests in a highly stressed situation towards the end of the century.
- The Great Barrier Reef is threatened by higher sea surface temperatures and more acidic oceans.
- Queensland’s natural environment supports 70% of Australia’s native birds, 85% of its mammals and more than 50% of the nation’s reptiles and native frogs. Many of Queensland’s species and ecosystems are already threatened and climate change poses a serious additional threat to Queensland’s unique biodiversity.
Sea-level rise threatens Queenslanders’ property and lifestyle.
- Long stretches of sandy beaches in southeast Queensland – the Gold Coast, Moreton Bay, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast – are threatened by the increased coastal erosion resulting from rising sea levels.
- The Gold Coast has more houses than any other region in Queensland within 110 m of erodible coastline, with more than 4,000 residential buildings at risk.
- Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast follow with around 2,000 residential buildings at risk in each region.
Using energy more efficiently can provide new opportunities for Queenslanders.
- Making our cities more sustainable can also make them healthier and more liveable, while reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Improving the environmental performance of buildings – for instance, by using more energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling and refrigeration – offers opportunities to save energy costs and provide healthier conditions for workers.
- Many businesses are already cutting energy costs and pursuing new business opportunities, such as using waste products to produce energy. This area will continue to grow with a changing climate.
Queensland is an ideal location for harnessing solar energy.
- Queensland is truly the Sunshine State with some of the world’s highest levels of solar exposure.
- Queensland is leading Australia in solar photovoltaic system installation, and has doubled its use of solar energy in less than two years. By July 2012, more than 200,000 Queensland households and businesses had installed solar panels.
- While use of solar energy has grown rapidly, Queensland can take more advantage of its solar resources. Solar photovoltaic systems currently provide around 4% of the state’s total electricity generation capacity.
- Around the world, investment in renewable energy is growing strongly and costs are rapidly coming down. In remote areas of Australia the cost of solar electricity is estimated to already be cheaper than retail electricity.
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- 19 June 2013 - Gold Coast Community Forum