Australia has had its fair share of major weather events, and the resulting social and economic losses have been significant. The 2019/2020 bushfire season was one of the worst natural disasters in recent years, with insurance losses alone exceeding 700 million Australian dollars. Additionally, many wildlife and their habitats were destroyed and the country’s agriculture industry was also affected. Abnormal weather patterns can wreak havoc on farmers and their livestock and crops, posing a challenge for food security in the country. The full extent of damage from major weather events is difficult to estimate, though many Australians are realizing that anthropogenic activities may indeed have an impact on the climate.
Most Australians believe the world’s climate is changing. Australia has pledged to the Paris climate agreement, which sets out to limit global temperature rise to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. While this has catalyzed technological innovation and industry change within the country, some experts believe not enough is being done in Australia to reach its target. This has prompted additional government funding to pay for carbon abatement projects, implemented to try and reduce the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.
However, emissions reduction in a country that relies heavily on coal mining has not been without controversy. The energy sector in Australia contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, but many Australians are directly or indirectly employed in this industry. The country is seeing a shift towards more renewable energy sources to combat and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Undoubtedly, finding a balance between economic security and environmental impact mitigation will be necessary.