Australia. Far north Queensland plan to include climate change forecasts

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

In a Queensland first, the new Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence (QCCCE) is providing expert climate change forecasts to agencies preparing the Far North Queensland Regional Plan.

Natural Resources and Water Minister Craig Wallace said it was the first time that climate change information from QCCCE had been included in planning for the future of a major Queensland region.

The advice includes likely climate scenarios for the years 2030 and 2070.

Climate change information will help determine how and where future infrastructure is built, including where housing, recreation, health and transport are located.

"Climate change is real and it is happening now," Mr Wallace said. "That is why the Beattie Government is factoring in our changing climate as it prepares regional plans for different parts of the State. As Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland I am pleased that the first regional plan the QCCCE is working on is the Far North Queensland Regional Plan."

QCCCE research indicates that, compared to conditions in Far North Queensland in 1990, the region can expect: Higher temperatures: 0.6 to 1.3° C by 2030 and 0.8 to 5.2° C by 2070; More extremely hot days: they predict 4 to 15 days of days over 35° C per year by 2030 and to 6 to 76 days by 2070; Uncertainty about rainfall, with potentially drier winters and wetter summers; and an increase in cyclone intensity, with maximum wind speeds up by 5 to 10 percent by 2050.

QCCCE officers are working with staff from the Department of Local Government, Planning, Sport and Recreation and Queensland Transport. The team is looking at the likely impacts of climate change and "peak oil" - or the date when the world maximum crude oil production is reached - on Far North Queensland, as well as planning adaptation strategies. This work will be of enormous benefit to local councils in particular to help them undertake proper planning.

Mr Wallace said it was vital governments, organisations and individuals planned infrastructure, urban development and other projects according to the latest climatic research. "This is particularly important for Far North Queensland, which is one of the fastest growing regions in the state."

QCCCE climate change projections were used at a recent workshop to assist long-term planning for and adaptation to climate change. The workshop, held in June in Cairns, attracted more than 40 participants from government, industry and the community. The next workshop will be held in September, when participants will develop plans and actions for mitigating and adapting to our changing climate.

Input from these workshops will be provided to the Department of Local Government, Planning, Sport and Recreation as it prepares a final draft of the Far North Queensland Regional Plan. The QCCCE, an Australian first, was launched in March this year to give scientific and policy advice about climate change to the Beattie Government. The centre has 36 expert climate scientists.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 August 2007 )