Australia rates among the world's highest per capita carbon dioxide emitters in new figures released by British researchers.
In 2011, Australia recorded 17.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per person, on par with the US, a team of specialist climate change researchers at the University of East Anglia has reported.
"The United States, Canada and Australia are really the three [countries] that have much bigger emissions per person than any other."
The melting of polar ice caps raised sea levels by nearly 11 millimetres in the past two decades, scientists say, calling it the most definitive measure yet of the impact of climate change.
There have been more than 30 previous estimates of whether and how much the ice caps are shrinking. But the numbers were often vague, with wide ranges, and different studies sometimes contradicted each other, the researchers said.
The new study, released November 30, in the US journal Science, combines data from 10 different satellites since 1992, carefully matching up time periods and geographical locations to make a more accurate and wider-ranging assessment.
The figure - among the most alarming of the latest forecasts by climate scientists - is at least double the 2C target set by UN members struggling for a global deal on climate change.
In 2011, global carbon emissions were 54 per cent above 1990 levels, according to the research, published in the journal, Nature Climate Change, by the Global Carbon Project consortium.
The world is on the cusp of a "tipping point" into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday.
"The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales," says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. "Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started."
While countries the size of Australia tally up their greenhouse emissions in hundreds of millions of tonnes, the Arctic's stores are measured in tens of billions.
The genetic make-up of corals will be studied in Australia and Saudi Arabia to understand how they may one day be able to survive climate change.
Scientists say over the past century the world's water temperatures have increased by 0.8C, leading to increased acidity and coral bleaching.
Now researchers want to understand why some species die from bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef when temperatures rise in summer, but can survive in the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, where the water is on average eight degrees hotter.
What will the world look like in 40 years time. In 2052, will we have enough food and water? Will there be too many people? Will our standard of living be higher. Will we have taken decisive action on climate change.
To briefly summarise Jorgen Randers, the renowned Norwegian futurist, the broad answers to those are yes, yes, maybe, no and no. But it’s the way he reaches those conclusions that makes his latest book 2052: A global forecast for the next forty years, so compelling.
Randers made his name as the co-author of the book “The Limits to Growth”, which underpinned the Club of Rome’s work on resource depletion and helped spawn the sustainability movement. Not that he thinks the book and his work had that much impact. “I spent 40 years working on sustainability and failed. The world today is a much less sustainable world,” he lamented during a visit to Australia this week.
The world will have to cut the rate of carbon emissions by an unprecedented rate to 2050 to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees this century, a report released by PwC on Monday showed.
PwC's annual Low Carbon Economy Index report examined the progress of developed and emerging economies towards reducing their carbon intensity, or their emissions per unit of gross domestic product.
Global temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 at United Nations climate talks to limit the rise to below 2 degrees C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change.
The next United Nations climate report will ''scare the wits out of everyone'' and should provide the impetus needed for the world to finally sign an agreement to tackle global warming, the former head of the UN negotiations said.
Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks, said his conversations with scientists working on the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested the findings would be shocking.
Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/former-un-official-says-climate-report-will-shock-nations-into-action-20121106-28w5c.html
Australia's greenhouse gas emissions rose 0.4 per cent in the 12 months to June, data showed Friday, amid increased deforestation and higher emissions from agriculture and aviation.
The country emitted 577.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the 12-month period, the Department of Climate Change said Friday, an increase of 2.3 million tonnes year-on-year.
The Climate Institute says government and business have much to do to protect Australia's infrastructure from damage in natural disasters.
Science shows that as sea levels and global temperature rise, the frequency of extreme floods, droughts and bushfires will rise exponentially.