Climate change - Background Note (old)

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The climate is changing.                                                                            The basic science of climate change.

Why climates change.                                                                               Effects of climate change.

Uncertainity and scepticism.                                                                      Responses to climate change.

Government and policy.


Climate change—its causes, consequences and responses—is a major subject of political debate in Australia and overseas. It is a subject on which there is a wealth of information produced by experts from a range of different perspectives—scientific, economic, legal, social policy and foreign affairs. It is also a subject about which even the experts are often not in agreement.

There is a surfeit of information on all aspects of climate change, and it can be hard to keep up. The Parliamentary Library has therefore prepared this climate change website to help provide senators and members of the Australian Parliament, and their staff, with accurate and timely information and background on the key issues. The website includes useful information sources and explains core concepts and developments necessary to understanding and responding to the climate change debate.

Given the breadth and complexity of the subject, the website must of necessity be regarded as a 'work in progress'. As resources allow and as events progress, further explanatory information will be added.

We welcome comments from our readers to the address below.

Latest issues

  • On 31 May 2011, Professor Garnaut released the Garnaut Review 2011.

  • On 28 April 2011, the Government called for written submissions on its proposed carbon price framework. The closing date is 10 May 2011.

  • On 24 March 2011, the Government introduced legislation for its proposed Carbon Farming Initiative.

  • On 24 February 2011, the Government announced the framework for its carbon price mechanism.

  • On 10 February 2011, the Government launched the Climate Commission.