Climate change to affect all aspects of Australia

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Australian Climate Commissioner Professor Lesley Hughes on Wednesday spoke with Xinhua about the recently released report, saying that climate change will affect all aspects of the nation's society, ecosystems and economy.

Australian Federal Climate Commission is an independent group established by the Australian government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

The Commission was established in February this year with the support of the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to provide scientific information for Parliamentarians and members of the public in Australia.

The Commission recently held a forum in Parliament House of Canberra to release their first report "The Critical Decade".

According to Professor Lesley Hughes, the report basically reinforces what the general public knew about impacts on climate changes.

The report builds on the previous major synthesis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 that human production of greenhouse gases is changing the climate, and it is making the climate warmer in Australia.

"We're going to be facing potentially more intense tropical cyclones a greater risk of fire weather, and Australia is very fire prone all sorts of extreme events like that, and that will affect all aspects of our society our ecosystems and our economy," she told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Professor Hughes said Australia had nearly a degree of warming over the last century, rainfall patterns are changing, and therefore Australians are getting more extreme events.

She noted that one of the major effects will be further rise in sea level, which is already rising.

"It is rising at different rates around the coast line of Australia, depending on how much the land is going up and down," she said. "But about 80 percent of the Australian population lives very close to the coast, and that is where the nation have their expensive infrastructure both residential buildings and in business," she said, adding "so one of the first major impacts of climate change will be on costal infrastructure and coastal communities."

Another major impact will be the impact on the environment on species and ecosystems.

The Great Barrier Reef is an iconic Australian ecosystem that is already feeling the negative impacts of climate change, Professor Hughes said, adding that Australia will be looking at lots of species extinction and a change in the services that ecosystems provide to the country.

She also said that Australia is going to face potentially more intense tropical cyclones, as well as a greater risk of fire weather.

Professor Hughes is head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University, and the Australian representative on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

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