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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 temperature increase of approximately 3, our planet l s mean sea level may rise by 20 cm to 50 cm. The main reason for this is the expansion of the upper layers of the oceans and the melting of temperate mountain glaciers. It is not expected that significant melting of the west Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets will occur until much later. We can also expect increased temperatures, although this will be variable from region to region. Increased temperatures, where they occur, will exacerbate heat waves and probably droughts. I ncrea sed temperatures a 1 so 1 ead to i ncrea sed evaporation and, in order to keep the water content of the evaporation in balance, the rainfall in some areas is also predicted to increase. As a consequence, increased rainfall intensity may occur in some regions and the severity of floods may increase al so. As I mentioned earlier, Mr Speaker, there are many uncertainties about climate changes and about the implications for these on our communities at regional levels. The major tools used to investigate possible consequences of the Greenhouse Effect are global circulation models which are large computer models of the global atmosphere being developed at a number of locations around the world. These models use a range of complex variables and it is significant that all model calculations to date predict an increase in the global mean temperature. There are, however, serious 1 imitations to the detai 1 s that current calculations and models can provide. As a consequence of this, the Northern Territory government has entered into an agreement with the CSIRO for the provision of state-of-the-art scientific advice on the regional impact of the Greenhouse Effect in the Northern Territory. It is understood that similar agreements are being entered into between the CSIRO and the states. The agreement is for research to obtain more detailed and reliable predictions of future climatic changes and their implications for the Territory. The CSIRO will compare overseas global circulation models and simulate likely climate changes for the Territory, ranging from the wet tropics of the Top End to the desert of the Centre. They will critically review and report on the projections for rising sea levels and coastal impacts and will review the impacts of climate change on specific phenomena such as tropical cyclones, fire and rainfall. I intend to report further to this House as progress reports become available from this research. The second issue, re 1 at i ng to the change of ga ses in the atmosphere, is the destruction of ozone in the stratosphere. I will discuss this at some length in my second-reading speech on the Ozone Protection Bill. Suffice it to say at present that it is quite a separate process to the Greenhouse Effect although it involves similar pollutants such as chlorofluorocarbons. Projections indicate that the destruction of ozone in the stratosphere as a consequence of fluorocarbon use may result in a significant increase in the amount of ultraviolet radiation penetrating to the earth. The third process which I would like to touch on is the role of other pollutants and, in particular, the process known as acid rain. Gaseous pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and, to a lesser extent, hydrogen chloride are converted in the atmosphere to form gaseous variations of sulphuric and nitrous acid. Thi s leads to the phenomenon known as acid rain which has caused widespread concern in Europe and North America. It is believed to be responsible for a number of environmental problems including the acidification of lakes and loss of aquatic 1 ife, the leaching of trace minerals from soils and the contamination of drinking water, together with metal corrosion and damage to buildings. 8761