AUS-Australia ‘facing hotter future’

Australia ‘facing hotter future’

Story by:Phil Mercer, BBC, 2 January 2004

There is a warning that Australia faces a future of higher temperatures, moresevere droughts and raging bushfires, as well as major outbreaks of tropicaldiseases.

These gloomy predictions are made in a new government report on climatechange over the next 70 years.

The findings will add to pressure on Prime Minister John Howard over hisdecision not to sign the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gases.

The report by Australia’s leading climate scientists gives a devastatingassessment of what future generations can expect.

It is predicted the country will be hotter, more prone to drought and severestorms.

The study has claimed average annual temperatures will rise by up to sixdegrees by 2070.

Tropical disease

There is more bad news. Climate change caused by global warming will, say theauthors of the study, put great pressure on water resources, while the GreatBarrier Reef could be threatened by the bleaching of coral.

On top of all that, there is the prospect of more outbreaks of tropicaldiseases such as dengue and Ross River Fever.

In what could be interpreted as a criticism of the government’s opposition tothe Kyoto Protocol, the report has said any reduction in greenhouse gases wouldhelp Australia avoid the most damaging aspects of a changing climate.

Prime Minister John Howard has refused to ratify the global agreement,claiming it would cost jobs and damage industry and would be meaningless withoutthe support of the United States, which has also rejected it.

The government has established an action plan to ensure Australia continuesto cut damaging emissions without compromising its economic development.


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