According to CSIRO, Primary industries (agriculture, fisheries,
forestry and mining industries) are some of the most sensitive
sectors to climate risk. The following information is drawn from
CSIRO's Primary industries, enterprises and communities adapting to
climate change fact sheet.
What climate change impacts are primary industries
Climate changes seem to be happening
faster than expected, especially in southern Australia, where there
have been recent long-term declines in rainfall.
The changes that are already happening are consistent with
expected, larger changes in the future, and are due to
human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.
The projected ongoing changes in rainfall, temperature and other
climate factors will likely severely challenge Australian
agriculture, resulting in lower production of key foods and fibres
that will increasingly be in demand in the world.
Importantly, the changes we have already seen have had significant
and generally negative impacts on agriculture in southern
Australia. So, while our farmers are resilient and capable, they
are still sensitive to climate risks.
However, not all the changes have been negative. In a few areas,
lower rainfall has reduced waterlogging, nutrient leaching and
other problems associated with too much water.
The mining industry is likely to be facing impacts from climate
change in the form of hotter, drier and extreme weather events
(such as storms and flooding) resulting in increased operational
and maintenance costs.
Adaptation is simply changing management practices, technologies,
institutions and expectations to fit the prevailing or projected
Although most stages of mining are typically already influenced by
climate and extremes, the production stage is most at risk from
Climate change, combined with other issues such as population
growth, reduced availability of natural resources and changes in
consumption patterns, puts more pressure on Australia's primary
industries and the communities that support them.
How can primary industries adapt to climate
Adaptation is simply changing
management practices, technologies, institutions and expectations
to fit the prevailing or projected climate.
Adapting primary industries effectively will not only offset
negative impacts of climate change, but will allow producers to
take advantage of opportunities afforded by our changing
Adaptation can occur at many scales. Technical and managerial
adaptations in existing systems can have significant positive
For example, in cropping systems under projected climate changes,
implementing technical and managerial adaptations, could increase
yields by about 15 per cent above what they would otherwise have
In the Australian wheat industry alone, this could be worth
between A$150 million and A$500 million per annum.
The opportunities for these in-system adaptations are limited, and
transformative options such as changes in policy, land use and
resource allocation are also critical to the ongoing viability and
success of the sector.
These options will not only reduce the residual impacts of climate
change, but will identify and multiply opportunities for primary
CSIRO Fast Facts
- Australian primary industries are important for Australia's
economy and also provide many social, employment and environmental
- These industries are highly sensitive to climate changes but
there are also opportunities if strategies to adapt are put in