Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia

Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia

Climate change is a major concern, not only in Australia, but in the whole world. Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia The main contributor to climate change is global warming which is caused by the release of greenhouse gases, and two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions is contributed by a small percentage of companies. In Australia, there are many businesses, which contribute to greenhouse gases such bas agriculture, mining, transport, and manufacturing. However, this paper focuses on the transport industry because it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emission and hence changes in climate. Such business should be responsible by instituting measures to reduce emission of green-house gases if the world is to mitigate the climate change phenomenon.  Two problems have been addressed in this paper; climate change has been rampant in Australia especially with increased temperature and low rainfall volumes and businesses contribute significantly to climate change in Australia through emission of greenhouse gases. Therefore, businesses should work closely with the Australian government and other regulatory authorities to monitor their operations in meeting the greenhouse gases emission standards as agreed in various global agreements like Kyoto Protocol, and standards set by the Australian government. In addition, businesses should realize that they are also directly affected by climate change because any negative effects on their target consumers also affect their profitability. Business should therefore mitigate the effects of climate change to ensure that they operate economically in the future. In light of the above, this paper argues that Australian companies should have the responsibility of mitigating the effects of climate change in Australia. This topic is important because climate change affects us all, and it seeks to find solutions to climate change mitigation by tackling the root cause of the problem, because businesses are major contributors to greenhouse gases emission and they must be involved in tackling climate change.

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The first problem addressed in this paper is climate change in Australia. Australia is facing the real threat of climate change. A report by Climate Council (2015) indicated that Australia experienced extreme climatic changes in the year 2015. For instance, in October Melbourne had the hottest temperatures. The country has experienced longer, hotter and more intense heat waves, frequent and severe draughts which have contributed to bushfire risks especially in southwest and southeast areas. Since 1950, the average surface air temperature in Australia has increased by about one degree centigrade. Recently, on average the country has experienced more hot months as compared to cold months.

As mentioned by Climate Council (2015), the duration and intensity of heat waves has increased tremendously in several regions hence negatively impacting on the livelihood of several people. The report further noted that since, the number of extreme hot months is more than cold months since 2001. The country has experienced a significant decrease in heavy rainfall and the southern part experience more rain as compared to the northern part.Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia As mentioned by Doherty and Slezak (2016), there have been discrepancies in annual rainfall between the northern and southern part with the northern part experiencing higher volumes as compared to the southern part. Basically, when the climate changes negatively, people are negatively affected in various ways. For instance, there is increased draught, the food prices increase, and there may be diseases.

Changes in climate in Australia have resulted to rise in sea levels, storm surge, extreme weather patterns, and droughts among others. These changes affect the Australians because they have substantial urban infrastructure that is developed and built on the coastal line, there are tropical revolving storms, and more intense and frequent heat waves. According to Brook (2016), extreme climatic changes result in shortage of fresh water resulting to famine, security challenges, and people starving.

The author further noted that effects would cause increased migration of people from their indigenous homes to other areas where they can get comfortable live.Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia Starvation and famine burdens the government which has to look for strategies to ensure that all people in the country have adequate food. Additionally, the country would have increased imports because the government and the private sector must import food products from other markets.

The second problem addressed in this paper is emission of greenhouse gases in the transport industry. Currently, the results of climate change are related to business operations either positively or negatively (Demertzidis, Tsalis, Loupa and Nikolaou, 2015). There is a large body of research which has indicated that climate change creates promising financial situations which are suitable for several businesses and potential investors because these investors are offered an opportunity to venture into many business opportunities such as environment and climate bonds.

Demertzidis, Tsalis, Loupa and Nikolaou (2015) further noted that businesses contribute to a greater extent towards climate change. Basically, the transport industry accounts for more than 16% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Australia and hence it is a concern both to the government and the commercial sector (Australian Government Climate Change Authority, 2012). According to a report by Australian Government Climate Change Authority (2012), the light cars account for more than 10% share of the Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions in the industry mainly come from fossils fuels combusted in vehicles. Due to the importance of transport industry in the country and its magnitude, Australia’s emissions are higher than other countries because the country uses more roads and there is inefficiency in the country’s road passenger transport. Fig 1 below illustrates this information.

 

Fig 1: Australia’s transport greenhouse gas emissions by mode in 2012

 

(Adopted from Australian Government Climate Change Authority, 2012)

In Australia, road transport accounts for more than 85% of all the transport emissions. Road transport includes cars, motorcycles, buses, light commercial vehicles, and rigid and articulated trucks. A report by Australian Government Climate Change Authority (2012) indicated that the light vehicles emit almost two thirds of all the total emissions in the road transport. It is estimated that the population of Australia will increase from 23 million to 30 million by the year 2030 and this demographic change will require advancement in the transport industry (Australian Government, 2016).

The country has experienced increased urban living hence increasing the need for transport and hence the rate of emission will increase even further if no actions will be taken.Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia This means that the climate in Australia will continue to change resulting to severe living conditions. According to a report by Australian Government (2016), if no policy action is going to be taken the total transport emissions are estimated to increase by 5% by the year 2030 because of the demand for transport will outpace efficiency improvements.

The solutions to climate change are divided into two: external and internal solutions. External solution involves government developing policies to check climate change in Australia by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Basically to mitigate climate change in Australia, businesses operating in the transport industry follow the guidelines and policies developed by the Australian government as well as other regulatory authorities ensure that their operations do not contribute to emission of greenhouse gases emission. Additionally, businesses in the transport industry should comply with international agreements such as Kyoto Protocol as well as the standards set by the government.

Climate change can be mitigated by enacting policies which focus on reduction on the greenhouse gas emissions as well as companies engaging in tree planting as a strategy to control the environment. Following the Paris Agreement, the Australian government should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by the year 2030 (Australian Government, 2017).Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia This can be done through the existing policies such as the Emissions Reduction Fund which offers incentives for activities aimed at reducing emissions across the country. In this case, the government can offer credits to transport companies to help in design and development of highly efficient vehicles. Therefore, the government should increase the allocation for the emission reduction fund and make it more available to several businesses in the transport industry (Thompson, 2011).

The internal solution involves the efforts made by the transport industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. A significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved by improving the light vehicle technology. Despite that reduction would be achieved by shifting to smaller vehicles, large improvements in the industry can be achieved even without shifting to smaller vehicles. The industry can come up with advanced technologies where vehicles do not consumer fossil fuels but renewable energy such as nuclear. Additionally, technology can be improved to have electric cars in the country and hence reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. Electric cars are more efficient than fossil fuels because there is no emission of poisonous gas and hence climate can improve.

Other strategies which can be used to improve the transport industry include implementing more efficient engines and reducing vehicle weight. The industry should comply strictly with the government policies on reduction of emissions.Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia A research conducted by Australian Government Climate Change Authority (2012) in 2012 on how to improve vehicle technology to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases indicated that new technologies can reduce emissions by up to 30% and offer opportunities for further improvements.

Based on this research therefore, transport companies in Australia should invest in new and sustainable technologies such as nuclear sources of energy and development of electric cars to meet the increasing demand of transport in the market and at the same time reduce the rates of emissions of greenhouse gases.

This study has offered more insight on climate change in Australia and its impacts on the lives of people in the area. This study has indicated that climate change in the country is a great concern because it may result in increased migration of people from the severely hit areas and hence negatively affecting the country’s economy.Australian Businesses Should Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change in Australia This study has deduced that the Australian transport industry contributes significantly to increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

Therefore, to solve these problems, the government should enforce the existing policies to ensure that companies contribute in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, companies especially in the transport industry should be more innovative in coming up with new and advanced technologies to design and develop more efficient engines in the light vehicles.

References

Australian Government Climate Change Authority. (2012). Opportunities to reduce light vehicle emissions in Australia. Australian Government Climate Change Authority 1-2

Australian Government. (2016). Trends: Transport and Australia’s development to 2040 and beyond.” Australian Government 4-50

Australian Government. (2017). The Australian government’s action on climate change. Australian Government 3-41

Brook, B. (2016). Australians endured ‘exceptional heat’ during September. News.com. Retrieved on October 9, 2017 from: http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/australians-endured-exceptional-heat-during-september/news-story/f566c12ba0df17895b3fcf31c1a0f6af

Climate Council. (2015). The burning issue: Climate change and the Australian bushfire threat. Climate Council 5-38

Demertzidis, N., Tsalis, T., Loupa, G. & Nikolaou, I. (2015). A benchmarking framework to evaluate business climate change risks: A practical tool suitable for investors decision making process. Climate Risk Management, 10(1), 95-105

Doherty, B. & Slezak, M. (2016). Australia faces potentially disastrous consequences of climate change, inquiry told. The Guardian. Retrieved on October 9, 2017 from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/11/australia-potentially-disastrous-consequences-of-climate-change-inquiry-told

Thompson, G. (2011). Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Sydney: Willey