Climate change

Climate change is already affecting the way we live, and its impacts are becoming more intense.

It is important that we work together to address climate change wherever we can. This means reducing our carbon emissions, living more sustainably and adapting to possible changes in our climate that can’t be avoided.

Climate change overview

  • In 2020, the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO announced that Australia’s climate has already warmed by 1.44°C, on average, since records began in 1910.

  • According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ‘climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C’.

  • By 2020, 189 of the world’s 195 countries had signed the Paris Agreement. Under this agreement, countries have agreed to work to limit the global temperature rise to well below 2°C. 

Climate change impacts

The consequences of climate change are already being felt in Australia. The main types of extreme climate events that are predicted to worsen as the climate warms further are:

  • temperature extremes, including heatwaves and extreme cold
  • extreme rainfall, floods, snow and drought
  • storm events, including dust storms, thunderstorms, hail and lightning
  • wind gusts, storm surges and coastal inundation
  • extreme east coast lows 
  • bushfires and severe fire weather
  • compounding or coincident extreme climate events.

These events and associated changes are expected to affect many things, such as human health, biodiversity – including plants, animals and environments – coastal living conditions, soil and water resources.

What we are doing

In 2021, Kempsey Shire Council completed a preliminary risk assessment on Council assets and infrastructure. The climate modelling and future impacts used for this risk assessment can be found in the North Coast Climate Change Snapshot(PDF, 7MB) document.

The preliminary risk assessment will be used as a guide for a full climate change risk assessment in the future.  The main risks associated with climate change for our region include:

  • an increase in hot days
  • an increase in temperature 
  • changes in rainfall amounts and intensity
  • an increase in severe fire weather
  • sea level rise.

As a result of this risk assessment, Council will develop strategies focusing on adaptation to these potential impacts when necessary. Council will continue to monitor, review and manage climate change impacts at all levels where possible.

What you can do

There are many ways to reduce your contribution to climate change. It is easy to make small changes with big impacts in areas like energy, transport and food consumption. For example, you can:

  • reduce the amount of electricity you use and switch to renewable energy where possible
  • cut your transport emissions by walking, riding a bike or using public transport or car pools
  • buy locally produced food and reduce food waste
  • eat less resource-intensive foods such as red meat
  • make your property more sustainable: plant trees, install rainwater tanks and solar panels, insulate your house and make it draught-proof
  • buy fewer disposable products, reduce waste and recycle
  • plan for increases extreme weather events such a heat waves and flooding.

For more information, see our Sustainability and Business sustainability pages.

More information

Read the Guide to Low Carbon Households, published by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living.

The NSW Government’s AdaptNSW website has information and tools to help communities and businesses build their resilience to future extreme events and hazards.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment provides climate adaptation advice for primary producers.

The Bureau of Meteorology provides climate information and long-range weather forecasting.

The Climate Council offers climate change resources and information based on the most up-to-date science.