Australian environment to be severely impacted by climate change, CSIRO report finds

Climate change is likely to severely alter the plants, animals and ecosystems of Australia over the next century, new research from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has found.

The landmark study, entitled The implications of climate change for Australia's biodiversity conservation and protected areas, saw a team of CSIRO researchers carry out modelling across the whole of Australia in order to determine the way climate change was affecting our environment.

They found that climate change is likely to have a significant impact on Australia's plants, animals and ecosystems by 2030, and an extreme impact by the year 2070.

"By 2070, the ecological impacts are likely to be very significant and widespread. Many of the environments our plants and animals currently exist in will disappear from the continent," said CSIRO lead researcher Dr Michael Dunlop in a statement released September 18.

"Our grandchildren are likely to experience landscapes that are very different to the ones we have known."

The report comes in the same week that the US National Climatic Data Center reported that the month of August was the 330th consecutive month in which global temperatures were above the average for the 20th century.

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However the CSIRO report argues that with climate change already impacting our environment in such a radical way, future biodiversity conservation efforts will need to focus on maintaining the health of ecosystems as they change in response to climate change.

"This could need new expectations from the community, possibly new directions in conservation policy, and new science to guide management," said Dr Dunlop.

"To be effective we also need flexible strategies that can be implemented well ahead of the large-scale ecological change. It will probably be too late to respond once the ecological change is clearly apparent and widespread."