Computer modelling is one of the modern science’s recent advancements, that serve to project different climatic scenarios and changes of the real world onto computer screens. Climate models have developed immensely over the last three decades. They are designed to integrate the interface between land water and air. GCM or global climate models are the best tools for climate modelling. Closely related to the models in weather forecasting the GCM, represent a three-dimensional grid. With a 200km resolution of atmosphere and twenty to fifty layers in the third dimension, GCM models represent synoptic features, such as low and high air pressures, oceanic currents, cloud formation, air or water turbulence, precipitation, and radiation.
The limitations of currently used global climate models, even though the spatial resolution of computer models has enhanced dramatically, are limited to specific representation while omitting some of the important local and regional processes. These limitations hinder proper projection of multiple important climate features. Uncertainties are some of the other limitations of GCM, and these uncertainties are partially visible in the projected results (Climate Change in Australia, 2018). On the other hand, GCM is found to be very helpful in predicting present and past climate features, such as vigorous indications for increased greenhouse gases.
Since climate models are the well-organized simulation of physical processes of the climate, they actually use mathematical equations. These mathematical equations help them in establishing the role of energy and matter and the interaction in between them for different environments like air land and sea (NOAA Climate, 2018).
IPCC or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of UN that is formed in order to provide the world with the scientific and objective understanding of climate change as well as its impacts on the economic, social and political environment of the world. Despite being the internationally recognized organization for climate change studies, IPCC does not monitor or research the climate change itself; instead, it reviews the major published report from different researchers and governments (Department of the Environment and Energy, 2018).
The IPCC report about climate change has forecasted the likelihood of the climate in the next fifty and hundred years. Based on the reviews of multiple GCM projected results, the IPCC prediction of the future of the world climate is more warming. The temperature will rise in both troposphere and near-surface while it will decrease in the lower stratosphere. Sea ice will deplete, and the northern Hemispheres ice cover will start to vanishes. Average precipitation rate of the world will gradually increase, resulting in the quick warming of the land as compared to the ocean. Aerosols in tropospheric increase making warming locally as well as globally effective (Cubasch et al., 2001). In short, a temperature rise of 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the overall global temperature is predicted. The climate change will not only affect the individual regions but will also have economic and political effects on regional and local environments. Net cost for damage repair from climate change is likely to be increased over time (Jackson, 2018).
Impacts of Climate Change
Exposure: Exposure is defined as the list of elements that can be viable to the climatic change in area or region (UNISDR, 2009).
Sensitivity: Sensitivity is defined as the mean surface temperature change resulted by the increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2018).
Vulnerability: The tendency of exposed elements to suffer through the adverse effects during a climatic hazard (UNISDR, 2009).
Emergent Risks: Those risks that have not been emerged yet or are at an early stage of emergence. They don’t have previous record. The examples of emergent risk relevant to Australia are infrastructure, as 30,000 km of road are at emergent risk of sea level rise and increased psychological impact on farmers of southern Australia due to the drought (Australian Academy of Science, 2018).
Effect of GHG on climate change impact
Five most important climate change impact for Australia, along with the effect of increased level of greenhouse gases on them by 2050n and 2010, according to Climate Change Impacts report (2006), are:
|Projection of greenhouse gases level in Australia||2050
|Natural ecosystem||30cm sea level rise
10-40% loss of majority of Australian vertebrates
97% washing away of Great Barrier Reef
|90-100% loss of majority of Australian vertebrates|
|Livestock, forestry and ecosystem||12% decrease in wheat production
38% decrease in net of cattle production
$5.7 million/annum profit because of the elimination of light brown apple moth
|More than 32% loss in wheat production
More than 128% loss in net of cattle production
More than 55% loss of Eucalyptus
|Water resources||30% decrease in flow in Macquarie River Basin||50% decrease in flow in the Murray Darling Basin|
|Infrastructures||15% increase in electricity demand||25% increase in electricity demand|
|Harsh weather||5–10% increase in tropical cyclone
20% increase in rainfall
|30% increase in tropical cyclone
25% increase in extreme rainfall
Adaptation and Mitigation Responses
Direct Action Plan (Emission Reduction Fund) vs Carbon Tax
Emission reduction Fund is a voluntary scheme initiated by the Government of Australia in 2011 by enacting Carbon Credits Act 2011. This plan provides benefits in terms of ACCU to organizations and individuals in order to adopt healthy practices for decreasing greenhouse gases (Clean Energy Regulator, 2016).
The Carbon Tax program or Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is an outdated method that was developed in order to mitigate the GHG by applying a tax on carbon emission with a fixed rate of $10 AUD on one ton of carbon (Leggett et al., 2009).
Emission Reduction Fund is likely to be more successful in reducing GHG emission because of the incentives paid by the government will certainly motivates organizations or individuals to reduce their carbon emission.
Cap and Trade Scheme: Cap and trade scheme is a trade program that sets the annual emission allowances. The advantage of cap and trade scheme is the direct decrease of the annually emission rate while the disadvantage is lack of minimum price for the emission allowance.
Carbon Tax: Carbon tax is the fixed amount of tax applicable on per ton of emissions. The advantage of carbon tax is lack of fluctuation in investment while the disadvantage of carbon tax is the availability of uncertainty in emission rate due to fixed tax price (Kaufman, 2016).
The main difference between cap and trade scheme and baseline and credit scheme is that the cap and trade have an upper limit for emissions and the permits for cap and trade scheme are either distributed freely or are auctioned. Baseline and credit scheme, on the other hand, has no fixed limit and the clients are allowed to sell their credits (OECD, 2018).
Market, are the most prominent risk factor associated with the environmental degradation caused by humans. They have caused a significant increase in greenhouse gases emissions rate. Controlling the market, with legislations, such as Emission Reduction Funds or Carbon Tax, in order to limit their carbon emission may certainly cause a positive effect on environmental degradation. These limitations help cope the government in defining an appropriate mechanism against human caused environmental degradation.
Precautionary principles: Precautionary principle is the basic environmental regulatory principle adopted in many countries in order to protect the environment while tackling with the potential risks associated with environment (Gonçalves, 2013).
The risk associated with controlling the greenhouse gases are decrease in economy and international investment, while not controlling the greenhouse gases may give rise to the increased temperature harsh weathers and low water resources with decreased rainfall.
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Clean Energy Regulator. (2016). About the Emissions Reduction Fund. [online] Available at: http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/ERF/About-the-Emissions-Reduction-Fund [Accessed 31 Oct. 2018].
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Cubasch, U., et al., (2001). Projections of future climate change. Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, J. T. Houghton et al., Eds., Cambridge University Press.
Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). [online] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/climate-science-data/climate-science/ipcc [Accessed 31 Oct. 2018].
Gonçalves, V. (2013). The precautionary principle and environmental risk management: contributions and limitations of economic models. Ambiente & Sociedade, 16(4), pp.121-138.
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Leggett, J., Lattanzio, R., Ek, C. and Parker, L. (2009). An Overview of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Control Policies in Various Countries. Congressional Research Service.
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Preston, B.L. and Jones, R.N., (2006). Climate change impacts on Australia and the benefits of early action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (p. 41). Canberra: CSIRO.
UNISDR, (2009). Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction. United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland.