Australian Expert Writers
What is climate change?
NASA defines climate change as (NASA 2014) “…a change in the usual weather found in a place. This could be a change in how much rain a place usually gets in a year. Or it could be a change in a place’s usual temperature for a month or season. Climate change is also a change in the Earth’s climate. This could be a change in Earth’s usual temperature, or it could be a change in where rain and snow usually fall on Earth”. (Mossavar-Rahmani, 2019, pp. 148-149).
Climate is differentiated from atmosphere by the World Meteorological Organization. Both climate and weather differ. The distinction between climate instability and climate change is the continued existence of an “abnormal” condition: Climate and climatic patterns can vary greatly, but are not climate change. Climate change is happening as average values for environmental and climate change shifts and volatility rises over a minimum period of 30 years, record drops, reaching higher and lower values, or deviations from the past: early later, higher or lower, more or less regular (Nagel 2016).
Island countries in south pacific
South Pacific islands are split into Polynesia, Melanesia. Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Eastern Islands and French Polynesia are the Polynesian islandswhile Melanesian are Melanesian islands in Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Solomon Island.The Cook Islands blend the blue Polynesian seas with New Zealand, who administer the land.Climate change issues are mixed together and are more easily expressed in ecosystems and communities in particular.The Pacific Islands are increasingly concerned by studies because, given the high coastal-to land ratio and Pacific has vast emphasis on the atmosphere, it consists of a region that is especially vulnerable to climate change.Although the South Paciac Islands release less than 0.01 per cent of global greenhouse gases causing climate change, the area is one of the world’s most prone to adverse effects. (OXFAM, 2015; WWF Pacific, 2015).
Fiji and New Zealand are selected as an archipelagic pacific country that is relatively large and ethnically diverse. (Scott et. Al,2018, p 47-49).
Rising sea- level
Increased levels in sea levels are just one of the many effects of Paciac Islands climate change that also include increased cyclone frequency and intensity, coral bleaching, coastal erosion, changing pest and disease patterns, saltwater intrudes, tempest surges and ooodization, increased temperature (impacting lowland tar production) and rising drought. (Harris et. al ,2016, pp. 47-49)
In New Zealand, As reported in the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, from 1880 to 2012 world average temperatures warmed by 0.85oC. (IPCC Website).
90% of the moisture applied to the climate system is drained by the water. The warming causes the growth of ocean water and causes sea water levels to rise in accordance with the melting of terrestrial ice. Between 1901 and 2010, the global average sea level was up around 19 cm, with an average annual rate of 1,7 mm. The average global sea level grew by about 3.4 mm per year between 1993 and 2016. As a product of global temperature changes and the influences of nature, sea levels are not rising consistently worldwide. In New Zealand sea levels have increased by 1.7 mm a year on average since 1900 and 2008.
Impact on Agriculture
Climate change is impacting the agricultural land due to the changing patterns of rainfall. New Zealand and Fiji are the countries that are affected by huge climate change. Coastal and vegetation environments such as seaside are vulnerable. (Howes et.al, 2018 pp. 1-3). In the Pacific region there is evidence that sea level changes have caused these habitats to fall globally and their distributions have shifted. Burn-off (black dying leaves), leading to high temperatures rising inevitably result in high mortality. There have been cases of burnoff in Fiji, although there is insufficient data for relating such incidents to warming patterns.
2. Who and/or what is responsible?
2.1 Greenhouse gas emission and climate change
Anthropogenic-derived greenhouse gases triggering global warming have adverse impacts such as climate change and public health risks (D’Amato, 2016). The earth’s atmosphere has warmed the globe significantly due to rise in density of greenhouse gases including CO2, which have caused more extreme and extended heat waves, temperature variability, air pollution, forest fires, droughts and floods while putting respiratory health at danger (D’Amato, 2016). Especially, under combination of global climate models with greenhouse gas emission scenarios, counties and territories of all pacific countries will warm by at least 1.5°C and up to 3.5°C before 2050 and by 2100, which will cause more extreme and frequent rainfall as the temperature rises (Bell, et.al, 2016). Furthermore, there are concerning reviews recently suggesting that current generation might go beyond tipping points for losing major ice sheets which will irretrievably lead rise in sea level for several metres higher in the coming centries, if there are continuous unabated greenhouse gas emissions (Weir, Dovey and Orcherton, 2016). This is to say that rise in sea-level obviously impacts island countries because of their geographic characteristic.
2.2 Countries emitting greenhouse gas
High greenhouse gas emission can be spatially local environmental issues including city air pollution however, the consequence of its long-lasting damage as global climate change is not limited within the emitting country (Althor, et.al., 2016). This is because world’s climate system is degraded from polluting the earth’s air with greenhouse emission through deforestation, agricultural activities and fossil fuel combustion by emitting countries (Althor, et.al., 2016). The impacts of greenhouse emissions stretch beyond countries’ borders however, countries are highly variable on the impacts of climate change (Althor, et.al., 2019). According to UCAUSA (2019), China is world’s top CO2 emitter by having share of 29%. This is due to huge population, ineffective capital investment and planed urbanization and heavily relied on coal (Mohajan, 2014). On the other hand, Although Australia has positioned 16th of global emitter in 2019 (UCAUSA), the country has contributed global climate change significantly. Australia is a key contributor of global climate change by burning coal, oil and gas locally as well as being a fossil fuel exporter (Climate Council, 2019). What is more, from recent bushfires in Australia has emitted enormous amount of CO2. The equivalent amount of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas has emitted from the bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland since August in 2019 (Readfearn, 2019). High level emission from such countries definitely have contributed global warming leading to climate change.
2.3 Industries responsible for climate change
Although it is well-known by people about hazardous impacts of greenhouse gases on the earth’s climate system, countries are intentionally emitted the gases for enhancing human wellbeing and driving economic growth (Althor, et.al., 2016). Almost two thirds of total of industrial emission including CO2 and CH4 can originated from 90 major industrial carbon producer who are possibly responsible to climate change (Ekwurzel, 2017). Electricity and heat production were the largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions, followed by transport and also manufacturing industries and construction sector contributed widely in 2014 (Our World in Data, 2019). Electricity and heat production emit greenhouse gas by burning coal, natural gas and oil (EPA 2019). Petroleum-based fuels, largely gasoline and diesel dominate 95% of transportation energy worldwide and burning fossil fuels for rail, road, air and marine transportation (EPA, 2019). Agriculture is another major contributor. Not only soil management and livestock production practices emitting nitrous oxide and methane are the main cause of the emission (Holly, cited in Waheed, et.al., 2018), but also using fossil fuel for irrigation, nitrogen-rich fertilizer pumping water intensively is a significant cause of the emission contributing 14% to 30% of the total greenhouse gas emssion (Reynolds and Wenzlau, cited in Waheed, et.al., 2018.)