Great. Just great. Here’s what happens if we hit 4 degrees warming:
- 250 million people in the Asia-Pacific will be displaced.
- 250,000 coastal properties inundated by rising sea levels at a total cost of $63 billion
- 17,200 heat-related deaths a year – up from 5800 today
- Snow will disappear from all but the highest alpine peaks
- Sydney will be like Rockhampton,
- Melbourne like Griffith NSW
- Canberra like outback Cobar.
- Darwin? Uninhabitable.
- production in the key Murray-Darling food bowl could slump by 90%
- “Darwin may become “in terms of climatic extremes, unlike anywhere currently on the planet””
Although nations have committed to limit warming to below 2C, the book calculates that the world emits far too much CO2 – to the tune of 14bn tonnes – to keep to this target. For this gap to be bridged, Australia would have to raise its emissions reduction target to 40% by 2020 in order to do its fair share, based on current emissions levels. This is well above its current target of a 5% cut based on 2000 levels.
Christoff told Guardian Australia that the scenario for Australia was “extraordinarily disturbing and deeply distressing” if average temperatures increased by 4C.
“Australia is exceptionally vulnerable ecologically to climate change,” he said. “It would mean a comprehensive transformation for life in Australia, from its wealth to its access to water to how people spend their time in summer.