Aussie pollution poses serious problem: Climate Commission

FACING the prospect of regional towns in Queensland and New South Wales copping the brunt of sea level rises, the Climate Commission has given Australia a 2020 deadline to cut pollution.

In its report, The Critical Decade, the commission outlines threats posed by unchecked carbon emissions that result in warmer global temperatures.

For Queensland, this means almost 60,000 residential buildings along the coastline could be affected if waters rose by 1.1metres as predicted.

The Sunshine, Fraser and Gold coasts, along with Moreton Bay, Mackay and Bundaberg were named as the riskiest areas.

In New South Wales, up to 62,400 homes could be damaged through the combined effects of rising seas and extreme storms.

Those in Lake Macquarie, Wyong, Gosford, Wollongong, Shoalhaven and Rockdale would be most affected.

For Queensland, cyclones would become more intense although the number would remain roughly the same.

In NSW, the despised cane toad plague would likely march further south - particularly along the state's north coast.

The commission report also made a case against the use of fossil fuels, instead encouraging a focus on renewables if the world was to avert these looming threats.

For the world to cut enough pollution to defend against temperatures rising beyond 2 degrees - the limit of increase before "dangerous climate change" occurs - fossil fuels would need to remain unused.

According to authors Professor Will Steffen and Professor Lesley Hughes, "To stay within the 2 degrees limit, the trend of increasing global emissions must be slowed and halted in the next few years and emissions must be trending downwards by 2020 at the latest".

"Investments in, and installations of, renewable energy must therefore increase rapidly.

"And, critically, most of the known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground."

The Climate Commission was created by the Federal Government to help explain climate change to the public.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has previously warned the commission would likely be dismantled, and the role of chief commissioner Professor Tim Flannery made redundant, should the Coalition win office in September.

Meanwhile, a Parliamentary Inquiry released its final report on biodiversity and climate change on Monday, recommending longer-term funding for climate change research.

Topics:  carbon emissions climate change climate commission environment global warming politics

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