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Climate Change to Bring Heat, Bushfires to NSW

|May 14|magazine8 min read

Summer weather is on its way to New South Wales, but don’t wiggle into your budgie-smugglers just yet.

According to ABC News, the Climate Commission is predicting record heatwaves, bushfires and rising sea levels across the state by the end of the century due to climate change in its newest report, “The Critical Decade: NSW Impacts and Opportunities”.

In Sydney for example, the report said the city would experience two weeks’ worth of 35+ temperatures; normally, this happens only three days per year. The dry western end of the city is said to be contributing to the hotter temperatures.

“What we are seeing is not only rising temperatures but some parts of the country are getting disproportionally hotter,” Federal Climate Commissioner Professor Lesley Hughes told ABC. "If we compare western Sydney with the rest of Sydney, the number of hot days in western Sydney used to be three times as many as eastern Sydney, and now it's four times.”

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The report also states that the sea level will rise 1.1 metres by the end of the century, threatening 60,000 houses, 1200 commercial buildings and 250 kilometres of highway.

Bushfires are also a concern: “The number of very high fire danger days could increase by over 20 per cent by 2020, by up to 70 per cent by 2070," Ms Hughes told ABC.

The Commission pinpointed three primary impacts and opportunities in NSW within the report:

1.      A hotter climate will affect agriculture and natural ecosystems.

2.      Changing rainfall patterns – and the risk of more intense rainfall events – pose challenges for land management in the New England/Northwest NSW region.

3.      Storing carbon in land systsms offer a rapid, but short tern, way to reduce carbon emissions with significant co-benefits.

 “Australia is generally regarded internationally as the most at-risk developed country,” Ms Hughes told AAP. “We need to prepare for it but we need to do our best to avoid the worst impacts.”

The full report may be accessed here.