Climate change is happening now and will continue to occur and affect communities, industries, ecosystems and economies – and is a global problem that will be around for a long time.
Climate change in the Northern Territory
Climate change impacts are already being experienced across the Northern Territory; one obvious impact is the increase in temperature. Annual average temperatures have been steadily rising across the Territory by approximately 0.5°C in the west to 2.2°C in the south-east over the last century, with extreme temperatures becoming more common. Other impacts relate to increased intensity of rainfall events and tropical cyclones, severe droughts and sea level rises along the Territory coast.
Anticipated impacts on industry
Many aspects of Territory life are already being impacted: human health, coasts and marine resources, water supply, biodiversity and ecosystems, tourism. A number of other sectors will also be affected by climate change:
Agribusiness encompasses all forms of agriculture undertaken in the Northern Territory including the production of all types of livestock, crops, seafood (wild caught and/or farmed) and bush foods (collected and sold on a commercial basis). In 2017-18, agribusiness contributed approximately $735 million to the Northern Territory’s Gross State Product (GSP). Disruption to the agribusiness sector will have a flow-on impact to Territory-based suppliers supporting the sector.
The Northern Territory’s construction industry employs more than 10,000 people. In 2018-19, the industry contributed to $1.6 billion to the Territory economy. Climate change will significantly impact infrastructure from infrastructure design to change in access to worksites, conditions for workers and building standards.
Energy and minerals
The mining, manufacturing and energy sectors (including natural gas and LNG) accounted for $5.74 billion of economic output. Climate change is expected to cause more frequent droughts and floods, altering the supply of water (water stress) to mining sites and disrupting operations.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) contributes approximately $1.9 billion to the Northern Territory economy annually through direct and indirect employment of Territorians, demand for goods and services, exercises held and infrastructure projects. Climate change poses a growing threat to human and societal well-being, threatening food, water, health and national security.
Read the Northern Territory’s State of the science and climate change impacts report which provides a summary of climate change: what it is, how it’s affecting the Territory and what Territorians can do about it.