AN environment group says the Border could help develop the clean energy a climate commission report claims is urgently needed to prevent future catastrophic weather.
Climate change means major heatwaves, droughts and rainfall are likely in NSW in the decades ahead, says the report released yesterday.
The Critical Decade: New South Wales climate impacts and opportunities says now is the time for action.
“To minimise climate change risks we must begin to decarbonise our economy and move to cleaner energy sources this decade,” it says.
“NSW is becoming hotter and drier. Record-breaking hot days have more than doubled across Australia since 1960.”
Wodonga and Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH) spokeswoman Lizette Salmon said there were “enormous” opportunities for regional Australia’s “significant solar resource” to provide jobs, stable electricity prices and a better climate.
She said the climate changes described in the report were no surprise.
“This report makes it clear that much of NSW, including by implication the Border region, is vulnerable to increasing climate variability and intensity of extreme weather events, such as severe droughts and occasional flooding rains, crop and livestock losses, more destructive bushfires, more severe heatwaves, flourishing of invasive plants and pests and adverse impacts on human health,” she said.
“This is not the sort of future we want for ourselves or our children.
“We need to change it and we can change it.”
The report says extreme heat in 2009 and flash flooding in March this year in Sydney were pointers to what NSW residents might face because of climate change.
Much of the commission’s report deals with the climate of Sydney, the Hunter Valley and coastal areas.
It predicts a 1.1-metre sea-level rise by the end of the century would endanger 40,000-60,000 houses, 1200 commercial buildings and 250 kilometres of highway in NSW.
Ms Salmon said WATCH supported the opportunities and actions outlined in the report, including the need for more public transport and a move away from coal.
“Too much money is spent on roads and not enough on rail,” she said.
“This report emphasises the need for much more investment in low-pollution public transport.”
The report says a legacy of innovation and achievement in renewable energy development gave NSW significant opportunities in clean energy.
“WATCH recently found in a large survey of residents that support for renewable energy remains very high,” Ms Salmon said.
She said residents wanted more renewable energy investment consistent with the report’s recommendations.