Cairns climate change heat

Cairns Climate Change

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Cairns Climate Change 2024

Cairns Climate Change induced ‘extreme heat’ led Councillor Rob Pyne to urge Council to acknowledge the Climate Emergency and warn residents of the dangers of ‘Extreme Heat’.

cairns climate change heat

Cr. Pyne said, “In 2023 I moved a motion that “Cairns Regional Council declare a Climate Emergency and investigate ways to alert and assist elderly and other vulnerable residents to the dangers of extreme heat in preparation for the upcoming summer months.”

Cr. Pyne moved this motion following unprecedented fires and loss of life during the heatwave conditions in the northern hemisphere, where over 60,000 heat related fatalities took place. It also followed United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning the world was now facing  ‘Global Boiling’.” So I was dumbfounded when my resolution was not supported by Council.

Rob Pyne
Rob Pyne

“When I asked questions about how the council planned to prepare for and respond to the coming summer, forecast to be a very hot El Nino year, the chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, Clr Terry James, was inaccurate in referring to the Cairns Evacuation and Recovery Register as a means of supporting elderly people in the heat.”

“The register is for evacuation purposes in events such as cyclones and flooding.  It does not cover heatwave events which are not classified as a disaster under Queensland legislation.”

In the lead up to summer, the absence of a dedicated local disaster coordinator and disaster engagement officer coupled with gaps in key preparatory processes mean the region is particularly vulnerable, says Councillor Rob Pyne.

Climate Change in Australia CSIRO

On current predictions, the world is heading for a rise in excess of 3°C this century. Heatwaves will get more severe, and more frequent, with rising temperatures. Climate change is urgent and is without doubt the biggest threat to human survival and prosperity.

Australia’s CSIRO Climate Science Centre is a research program that brings together the core of CSIRO’s capability in climate modelling and observations of the atmosphere and ocean. The goal is to be Australia’s centre for innovative and world-leading climate system science information. The CSIRO conducts and shares research that builds resilience to climate, atmospheric and ocean risks, and inspires climate solutions and actions.

Far North Queensland Climate

Far North Queensland (FNQ) features a tropical climate, characterised by distinct wet and dry seasons, high temperatures, and significant humidity. This region, located in the northeastern part of Australia, includes popular areas such as Cairns, Port Douglas, and the Daintree Rainforest.

The wet season brings heavy and frequent rainfall, particularly between December and March. This period can see torrential downpours and thunderstorms. Monthly rainfall can exceed 400mm (16 inches) in the wettest months. The region’s lush rainforests and diverse ecosystems thrive during this period.

High humidity levels are a hallmark of the wet season, often reaching above 80%. This can make the heat feel more intense and can be uncomfortable for those not acclimated.

Climate Change in the Far North Queensland Region

Climate change is having significant and multifaceted impacts on Far North Queensland (FNQ), a region known for its rich biodiversity, tropical climate, and unique ecosystems.

Average temperatures in FNQ are rising. This trend leads to more frequent and severe heatwaves, which can affect human health, agriculture, and natural ecosystems. Increased temperatures can cause heat stress in humans and animals, leading to health problems and reduced productivity.

The region is experiencing more intense rainfall events during the wet season, leading to increased flooding risks. One of the consequences of climate change is making flooding more common …. sea level rise.

Cairns Sea Level Rise

Rising sea levels contribute to coastal erosion, threatening coastal infrastructure, homes, and natural habitats. Higher sea levels can cause saltwater intrusion into freshwater systems, affecting water quality and agricultural lands.

Low lying cities like Cairns are highly vulnerable to sea level rise and are already experiencing unprecedented flooding.

Coral Bleaching and Ocean Acidification

Warmer sea temperatures are causing more frequent coral bleaching events, which can lead to widespread coral death and degradation of reef ecosystems.

Increased CO2 levels are causing ocean acidification, which affects the ability of marine organisms to form shells and skeletons, impacting the entire marine food web.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Changes:

Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns are causing shifts in habitats and species distributions, leading to potential declines in biodiversity. Altered conditions can facilitate the spread of invasive species, further threatening native flora and fauna.

Far North Queensland is on the frontline of climate change, experiencing significant impacts that threaten its unique environment and way of life. However, through a combination of government policies, community initiatives, and scientific research, the region is actively working to mitigate these impacts and build resilience.

Continued efforts in renewable energy adoption, conservation, sustainable agriculture, and community engagement are crucial for safeguarding FNQ’s future in the face of climate change.

Cairns Climate Change Strategy

Endorsed by Council in March 2022, the Cairns Climate Change Strategy 2030 builds on the achievements and actions of the previous strategy (Climate Change Strategy 2010-2015) and will guide Council’s climate actions for the next decade.

The strategy incorporates commitments to achieve net zero emissions by 2030 for council operations, including purchasing electricity from 100% renewable energy sources and a commitment to prepare the community to adapt and prosper in a changing climate and reduce their emissions.

Council will take action to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change through the focus areas of community, industry, energy, transport, built environment, and the natural environment. We will prioritise a heathy environment, build resilient, informed, low emissions communities and support a  smart green economy.

Cairns Climate Change pdf

The Cairns Climate Change Strategy is available as a pdf. in this document, Council Regional Council made the following commitments:

  • Net zero emissions for Council operations by 2030.
  • Council electricity supplied from 100% renewable energy.
  • Prepare Council and the community to adapt and prosper in a changing climate.
  • Support community progress towards Queensland’s emission reductions target of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emission by 2050.

Cairns Climate Change Map

Sea level rise mapping indicates areas that will potentially form part of the intertidal zone and assumes no adaptation action is undertaken.

Consistent with the State’s requirements, the updated mapping includes an allowance of 0.8m sea level rise by the year 2100, due to the impact of climate change. Mapping has been prepared for each planning horizon and is based on present day Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT) plus a sea level rise allowance for each planning horizon out to the year 2100. Mapping is indicative only and does not represent a shoreline position or where land may be lost to coastal processes.

Brisbane Climate Change

Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, is increasingly facing the impacts of climate change. The city’s subtropical climate is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters. However, climate change is leading to noticeable changes in weather patterns and posing significant environmental, economic, and social challenges.

Brisbane is experiencing higher average temperatures and more frequent heatwaves. This leads to increased heat stress, especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and young children.

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including severe storms, heavy rainfall, and flooding, are increasing. These events can cause significant damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses.

Rising sea levels pose a risk to Brisbane’s coastal and low-lying areas. This can lead to coastal erosion, increased flooding, and damage to coastal infrastructure.

Brisbane is actively addressing the challenges posed by climate change through a combination of mitigation and adaptation strategies. Efforts by the government, community groups, and individuals are crucial in building a resilient and sustainable city. As climate change continues to affect the region, ongoing commitment and innovative solutions will be essential to safeguard Brisbane’s future.

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