NSW report calls for action on climate change impacts


The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has released a report which warns of profoundly negative impacts of climate change on New South Wales ecosystems and agriculture, and calls for phasing out of coal-fired power and actions to restore land.

The report examines climate change impacts by ecosystem type throughout New South Wales, highlighting effects on plant and animal species with rising temperature and changing rainfall patterns and profiling species under immediate threat.

It also covers agriculture, which manages around 80% of the state. The NSW Department of Primary Industries has warned that industries, infrastructure and regional economies will be disrupted by climate change as many crops currently grown cease to be viable in the same location.

The Department has identified the most vulnerable industries as those that rely on irrigation, including fruit and vegetable growing, rice, cotton, dairying, and intensive livestock operations that require feed from irrigated lands.

By 2050 climate change is forecast to reduce production significantly: sheep meat by -13.2%; wheat by -11.6%; dairy by -11.3%; and beef by -3%.

The report concludes that to meet Australia's commitment to the Paris Agreement goal of restricting warming below 2°C, and ideally below 1.5°C, NSW needs to reduce emissions to zero by 2040 at the latest, and retire its coal-fired power stations by 2030.

The five major ageing coal-fired power stations that need to be replaced by solar, wind and storage are:

  • Bayswater Power Station in Muswellbrook owned by AGL, which emits 15.9 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution per year;

  • Eraring Power Station in Lake Macquarie owned by Origin Energy, which emits 12.95 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution per year;

  • Liddell Power Station in Muswellbrook owned by AGL, which emits 7.5 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution per year;

  • Vales Point Power Station in Lake Macquarie owned by Sunset Power, which emits 6.57 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution per year; and

  • Mount Piper Power Station in Lithgow owned by Energy Australia, which emits 6.35 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution per year.

The report calls on the NSW Government to:

Transform the energy system

  • Source all our power from sun, wind, and water by 2030.

  • Phase out coal and gas-fired power.

  • Help affected workers and communities prepare for jobs with a future.

  • Make sure the transition is fair so everyone, everywhere has access to clean, renewable energy.

Restore the land

  • End native forest logging on public land.

  • Protect native forests, woodlands, and grasslands from inappropriate land clearing.

  • Rule out new coal mines and gas fields in NSW.

The report, Hot, Dry and Deadly: Impacts of Climate Change on Nature in NSW is available here.

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