Academy warns of climate risks to Australia

February 16, 2015

The Australian Academy of Science today released its latest update on the state of climate science, warning of the consequences for Australia if no action is taken to address human-induced climate change.

The science of climate change: Questions and Answers aims to counter confusion and misinformation on this important scientific topic. It examines nine key questions, including what the science says about options to address climate change.

Academy President, Professor Andrew Holmes, said "The evidence is clear: climate change, caused by human activities, is real. The vast majority of scientists and scientific organisations in this field are in agreement on this.

"And yet there continues to be a gap between public understanding and the science of climate change. This update, which has been written and rigorously reviewed by 17 of Australia’s leading experts in a range of climate-related sciences, provides a clear and balanced account of climate change and its impact on Australia."

The Academy produced its first science of climate change booklet in 2010. The new fully revised and updated publication outlines the effects globally and in Australia of rising average temperatures and increased climate variability.

"Climate change is not something happening in the far off future, it’s happening now. 2014 was the hottest year on record, and 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred during the first 15 years of this century,” Professor Holmes said.

"The planet is warming because we’ve relied too heavily on burning fossil fuels for our energy. If we continue to burn fossil fuels in the way we have in the past there will be profound consequences.

"We have a number of choices about how we act, including learning to adapt, and preventing further damage by cutting emissions.

"But if we don’t take action, we’ll continue to experience increases in the number, duration and severity of heatwaves and extreme fire risk days, changes in water supply and food production, and impacts on infrastructure including roads and electricity supply,” Professor Holmes said.

The science of climate change: Questions and Answers is available free at

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