23 February 2009


The world is warming far more quickly than scientists forecast just two years ago according to Professor Chris Field a senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in an address to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science recently.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, an international body for the engineering industry, warned that countries must begin adapting to the effects of climate change as a matter of urgency or face serious effects from global warming.

"Water and sewage infrastructure, the electricity network and transport were all at risk from the effects of climate change, including floods, droughts and severe storms," said Tim Fox, head of environment and climate change at the IMechE "but if governments leave adaptation measures – ranging from flood defences to changing the design of buildings – for too long, then it will become impossible to put them in place in time to protect vital national infrastructure."

However whilst there was optimism at the AAAS meeting – based on the professed determination of the new US administration to promote effective action, both in its domestic energy policies and in taking a lead in international climate change negotiations, concerns continue to be expressed about the level of commitment of Australia’s major political parties to addressing the issue of climate change.

This is even in the wake of the recent bushfires in Victoria whose intensity and extent have been attributed to the effects of climate change by the Climate Institute in a report endorsed by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)

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