The effects of global warming on Australia are well documented, and some are already being seen in the form of dry winters, unusual summer heat and early spring bushfires.
In the longer term, according to the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and universities, we can anticipate damaging sea level rises, changes in local weather that disrupt agriculture, and ocean acidification expected to severely deplete the Great Barrier Reef.
But the most immediate effects on Australia are likely to be financial.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is explicit: human greenhouse gas emissions are the dominant force in recent temperature rises.
The world has used up 54 per cent of its total carbon budget, the amount of C02 it can put in the air if climate change is to be held at safer levels. At the current rate that mark will be passed in the next 30 years.
This budget crisis has serious implications for Australia's coal and gas industries, both of which are planning for expansion. Essentially, the nation's resources industry is on a collision course with climate change, and most of the known fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground if Australia is to play even a very modest part in preparing to tackle the worst effects of climate change.
As Professor Lesley Hughes of Australia's Climate Commission, since abolished, said: ''How people react to this is up to the policymakers and governments, as well as investors. It isn't our job to reconcile the ...