The governments and people of the world have begun to realise that climate change is occurring at an accelerated rate due to our own actions and high rates of carbon emissions. There are many national and international policies and programs being put in place with the goal of reducing carbon emissions and reversing (or at least slowing) the progression of climate change.
In Australia changes being made focus on reducing carbon emissions, saving water and developing renewable energy sources. The areas of climate change that affect Australia the most include decreasing rainfall and increasing periods of drought. Because of this, the water saving efforts are very important for the future of the country. Other measures such as reducing carbon emissions and developing renewable energy reduce further climate change and hopefully reverse the effects.
Water saving measures are in place at the public, corporate and governmental levels. Public measures include regulations on when sprinklers may be used, the time of day and days of the week. In times of drought, the regulations increase in order to save even more water. In 2013, 79% of households took at least one step to reduce water usage in the home. However water saving steps in the garden decreased from 71% of households in 2007 to 54% in 2013. Many households have also installed solar panels on their roofs, and this is partly subsidised by the government. Certain hot water systems that reduce energy use by either using solar heating or being more energy efficient are also subsidised by the government.
The government and businesses try and reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. Building energy efficiency standards are one way to ensure that this is enacted. Businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by mitigation efforts like planting trees. However, this particular method can cause problems through the use of a lot of water. However in some areas it is suitable. The government has also invested in renewable energy sources including solar and wind energy. Australia has one of the best landscapes and climates in the world for solar and wind energy production. In 2011, there were 42 operational wind farms in Australia, 51% of the energy produced came from South Australia. As previously mentioned, the government has subsidised solar panels for houses but more needs to be done in this area. Australia has the highest levels of solar radiation per capita, which means there is huge potential for energy production.
Although more and more energy in Australia comes from renewable energy sources, this increase is not enough to slow or reverse the progression of climate change. If everyone in Australia does not take more of an interest in reducing our carbon footprint then the changes to our climate will begin to affect our lives and health more and more.
– Zahedi A. Australian Renewable Energy Progress. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2015 Mar 25]; 14(8):2208-2213. Available from: http://ac.els-cdn.com.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/S1364032110000882/1-s2.0-S1364032110000882-main.pdf?_tid=9ec15176-d28d-11e4-8c77-00000aab0f26&acdnat=1427246822_fbe0d1e414915bacd685a120f93db661
– Wallis PJ, Ward MB, Pittock J, Hussey K, Bamsey H, Denis A, Kenway SJ, King CW, Mushtaq S, Retamal ML, Spies BR. Water impacts of climate change mitigation measures. Climatic Change [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2015 Mar 22] ;125:209-220. Available from: http://download.springer.com.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/static/pdf/25/art%253A10.1007%252Fs10584-014-1156-6.pdf?auth66=1427010194_9282d156551e4429ea390542f748ef41&ext=.pdf
– Bureau of Meterology (AU). Water Restrictions [Internet]. Canberra, ACT (Australia): Australian Government; 2015 [cited 2015 Mar 24]. Available from: http://www.bom.gov.au/water/restrictions/index.php?waterRestriction=393
-Australian Bureau of Statistics (AU). Media Release: Water saving wanes in the garden [Internet]. Canberra, ACT (Australia): Australian Government; 2013 [cited 2015 Mar 24]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/products/629A13C5A1CFAC3CCA2577DF00155272?OpenDocument
– Department of Industry and Services (AU). Renewable Power Incentives [Internet]. Canberra, ACT (Australia): Australian Government; [cited 2015 Mar 24]. Available from: http://yourenergysavings.gov.au/rebates/renewable-power-incentives