About climate change

The international scientific community accepts that the cumulative concentrations of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of climate change.

The present concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in the atmosphere are the highest ever recorded in ice cores in the last 800,000 years. These emissions are generated by a number of human activities, including energy use and production, transport, agriculture, land-use changes such as deforestation, industrial activities, mining, and others.

The greenhouse effect

In the following video – which is an extract from the course LAWS6038 Law and Economics of Climate Change, offered by the Newcastle Law School – Professor Chris Kellett, from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computing, explains the greenhouse effect.

Video: What are greenhouse gases?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Dr Elena Aydos, from the Newcastle Law School, explains the role of the IPCC and summarises key findings of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report in this extract from the course LAWS6038 Law and Economics of Climate Change, offered by the Newcastle Law School.

Video: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

State of the Climate in Australia

State of the Climate is a biennial report prepared by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, which draws on the latest monitoring, science and projection information to describe variability and changes in Australia's climate, and how it is likely to change in the future.

The video below, based on the 2018 State of the Climate report, includes the following key points:

  • Australia’s climate has warmed by just over 1°C since 1910, leading to an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events.
  • Oceans around Australia have warmed by around 1°C since 1910, contributing to longer and more frequent marine heatwaves.
  • Sea levels are rising around Australia, increasing the risk of inundation.
  • The oceans around Australia are acidifying.
  • April to October rainfall has decreased in the southwest of Australia. Across the same region May–July rainfall has seen the largest decrease, by around 20 per cent since 1970.
  • There has been a decline of around 11 per cent in April–October rainfall in the southeast of Australia since the late 1990s.
  • Rainfall has increased across parts of northern Australia since the 1970s.
  • Streamflow has decreased across southern Australia. Streamflow has increased in northern Australia where rainfall has increased.
  • There has been a long‑term increase in extreme fire weather, and in the length of the fire season, across large parts of Australia.
Video: State of the Climate 2018

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.