Following a comprehensive review of potential climate impacts for northern Queensland, a new report released outlines expected impacts for the north of the state.

The Adaptation Pathways Report draws on up-to-date scientific information from around the world and discusses the implications for the communities, natural environment and industries in the region. Scientists from James Cook University and CSIRO working with NRM organisations,  have identified practical options for adapting to increased temperatures, increased and variable rainfall, increasingly intense cyclones, storm surges and sea level rise in the Torres Straits, Cape York, the Wet Tropics and the Mackay-Whitsundays-Isaac regions.

Cape York NRM CEO, Bob Frazer said the community should collaborate on plans for a more resilient attitude to change.

“There are fourteen Natural Resource Management (NRM) organisations working across Queensland to support strong communities, sustainable industries and a healthy environment,” said the CEO.

“The impacts of a changing climate will force us to rethink what, how and where we can live and do our business in this region.

Cape York NRM is working with the community to plan ahead and come up with ideas about how we can minimise or adapt to the impact of variations in rainfall, increased temperatures, more intense cyclones and sea level rises.

We also need to do our share in Cape York to reduce emissions by actions such as minimising wildfires and storing carbon in the landscape,” Mr Frazer said. 

James Cook Universtiy Cairns Professor Steve Turton said it is important to be aware of climate changes.

“There is a large body of scientific evidence from all over the world that tells us climate change is already happening and will continue to affect every industry, every community and the environment,” said Professor Turton.

“Communities will be better off if they plan their responses to these impacts.

The alternative would be to wait for catastrophic flooding or cyclones to force change, but this wouldn’t give us the chance to take advantage of any opportunities, such as the development of new industries and new ways of doing things,” he said.

During the pas year Cape York NRM has inquired of communities as to what they see as important to them. The organisational staff will continue  discussions over coming months to come up with ideas for adapting to the expected regional changes.

The Adaptation Pathways and Opportunities Report identifies options for North Queensland residents in reaction to the impacts of climate change, highlights the need for urgent and decisive scaled action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  Without impactful action, the extent of change will eventually make the current way of life impossible and eventually have devastating impacts on our wildlife and environments.

“The information in this report will support communities to negotiate how we build a future that is economically, socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable,” said Mr Frazer.

“We hope that all sectors of the community take the opportunity to learn more about the changing climate and get involved in working out solutions for our region," he said.

For more information:

Photo Above (from left): Cape York NRM’s Peta Standley and Vicki Wundersitz discuss options for adaptation with Bruce Lansdown and Andrew Hartwig at the recent RIS workshop in Cooktown.