Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) confirms that ‘human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.’

The Victorian Government acknowledges there is risk posed by climate change and a need to support national and global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Victorian Climate Change Act 2017 provides Victoria with a legislative foundation to manage climate change risks, maximise the opportunities that arise from decisive action, and drive a transition to a climate resilient community and economy with net zero emissions by 2050.  

The North Central Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan, developed in 2015, remains a relevant guide for climate action in our region. Since 2015, climate change science has only become more definitive. The CSIRO now has finer-scale climate change data (5 km x 5 km resolution) and downscaled modelling which, when applied to the north central region, indicates a very high level of confidence around temperature increase. Rainfall projections are less certain, although trends are commonly downward, and accompanied by more frequent, high intensity events (increased potential for flooding and erosion) with less rain falling in the cooler months. There is also an elevated concern regarding the synergistic impacts of increasing landscape ‘dryness’ and extreme events, particularly wildfire. 

Even if global temperature rise is contained to 1.50C by 2050 (which is appearing increasingly unlikely) the scale and impact of extreme events will pose significant risks to people, natural ecosystems, agricultural production systems and infrastructure. A key challenge for RCS partners is to bridge the gap between the scientific and technical information provided by government and research organisations, and regional communities, to support informed, locally relevant and practical mitigation and adaptation responses.