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Transcript
State of the WA Environment
Climate Change Vulnerabilities & Impacts:
The unavoidable need for managing change
Dr Wally Cox
Chairman
Environmental Protection Authority
WA State of the Environment 2006
SoE Overview
• Report to community and decision
makers (every 5 years)
• Major environmental issues and trends
• Raise awareness
Pressures
State
• ID responses required
SOER
Response
• Report out in late 2006
WA State of the Environment 2006
Scope
• Fundamental Pressures:
– CLIMATE CHANGE , population & consumption
• Major environmental themes:
– Land, air, inland waters, marine, biodiversity ,
human settlements, heritage
• NRM Sectors:
– Agriculture, mining, energy, water supply etc
Climate change identified in every section
WA State of the Environment 2006
Aspects of climate change
Natural
Drivers
Climate Change
Vulnerability
Residual
Spontaneous Vulnerability
Anthropogenic
Drivers
Emissions,
Mitigation
Planned Adaptation
(ie reduction of vulnerability
Adaptation
Western Australian Impacts
West
Australian
Action
WA State of the Environment 2006
WA’s position
• Primary focus greenhouse gas
emissions mitigation
• Global emissions reduction beyond our
control
• Change is inevitable
• WA must prepare to live with and adapt
to climate change
WA State of the Environment 2006
Vulnerabilities
• Key drivers temperature and rainfall
• Every living organism has a T & R range
• Implications for natural and economic
systems in WA
Key vulnerabilities - natural systems
General: Climate change will exacerbate current threats to biodiversity, natural
systems
Individual species:
eg
Some threatened spp. even more vulnerable,
Some too slow to adapt, move
Stirling Range Moggridgea V narrow range, highly vulnerable to fire,
sp. spider
increased fire incidence will increase vulnerability
Endangered mammal spp. Exacerbation of existing threats – loss of habitat,
In the SW eg Dibbler
increased fire threat
Vegetation assemblages
Impacts on many vegetation types
eg
Decline in Tuart, Wandoo
Already subject to a number of stresses
Decline in Karri, Marri,
Tingles
Future risk from lower rainfall
Ecosystems
Coral reef bleaching
Increase in # high sea temperature events
Loss of wetlands
Lower rainfall, increased eutrophication
Decline in riverine
ecosystems
Reduced streamflow, increased eutrophication
Key vulnerabilities - economic systems
General: Most NRM sectors vulnerable to CC
Sector
Vulnerability
Drivers
Water supply - Risks to quantity and
SW
quality of water supply
Decreased rainfall, increased
evaporation, corresponding non-linear
decrease in runoff & g/water recharge
Agriculture
Changing productivity,
impacts on farm
profitability
Increased temperatures, changes in
evaporation, enhanced CO2
concentrations, increased seasonal
variability, changes in rainfall intensities
Pastoralism
Decrease in viability of
(southern) rangelands
Rainfall decline in southern rangelands
leading to reduced pasture growth and
water availability
Forestry
Changing productivity,
changes in sustainable
yields from native
forests
Rainfall decline, increasing
temperatures, exacerbation of pests
and diseases
Gnangara
Mound decline
Consequences
Yanchep Caves
Stygofauna and root
matt communities
Banksia prionotes
Banksia
littoralis
Regelia ciliata
Median monthly flows
for the Harris River,
near Collie before and
after 1976
WA State of the Environment 2006
Adaptation - Principles
• Prevent and/or modify threats
• Change uses / activities
• Change location of activities
• Expand research into impacts,
technologies and methods of adaptation
• Educate, inform and encourage
behavioural change
WA State of the Environment 2006
Adaptation - capacity
• Some areas will be able to adapt:
– Water sector
– Coastal planning
– Agriculture
• Some won’t
– Vulnerable SW ecosystems
– Wheatbelt spp.
– Southern rangelands?
– Coral reefs – Ningaloo, Dampier Archipelago
WA State of the Environment 2006
Intervention?
Cost of
intervention
Technology
requirements
Timeframe
Extreme / deliberate intervention ‘Last line of defence’
 Millenium Seed Bank Project, cryogenic
chamber
 Yanchep stygofauna
Intervention:
adaptive management
Knowledge
Natural adaptation
WA State of the Environment 2006
Conclusion
• The “Greenhouse Bulldozer” is coming
• We have a moral obligation to reduce our
GHG emissions
• We need to:
– Enhance our understanding of the
impacts for WA environment and sectors
– Plan to adapt AND
– Adapt