Friday, July 13, 2012

Climate could kill you, Outback towns are told

Kathy Marks in the Independent (UK): Climate change could transform the Australian outback, wiping dozens of small towns off the map, according to a new report commissioned by the federal government.

With many rural towns struggling to survive, climate change – expected to make much of inland Australia hotter and drier – could be the final straw, warns the report by the government's National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

Not only will the changes affect quality of life, with summer temperatures becoming insufferable, but they could make agriculture a marginal activity, thanks to more frequent and prolonged droughts.

The report's author, Andrew Beer, of the University of Adelaide's Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning, believes that entire towns could be depopulated unless locals take decisive steps. "If communities recognise climate change is on their doorstep and take action, they can adapt," he said. "The places that adapt and try to adapt will survive. The places that don't will simply disappear."

In the next 20 years, "you could easily see the loss of 10 per cent [of outback towns]", Professor Beer told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio, with another 10 per cent disappearing by 2050....

An aerial view of Alice Springs, from Tourism NT

No comments: