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Effects of climate change on the consumer


No, only the electric storage tank types.

There were many reasons for the reversal…from memory they included cost (of purchase and installation), multidwelling units (esp. high rise) unable to have heat pump type storages due to ventalation and size (retrofitting very expensive) and community backlash.

While cost and ease of installation (space or ventalation restrictions), is possibly an argument, I also recall that storage type could be continue to be installed during the ‘ban’ where no other option existed.


Citing the specific words in an IPCC report can be misleading. The IPCC, as anything from the UN or any multinational body’s statement, is what can be approved by all participants. Having been in the midst of climate change issues during the 1990’s I witnessed first hand the sensitivities of the USA and how it affected funding, science, and the scientists involved. The fallout literally changed high end computing, related international trade, and affected all industries that rely on the highest end capability.

All the comments on the models are accurate and none is perfect, but focsuing on the words ‘might’ and so on instead of ‘will’ and so on is dismissing the reality that the models have been more accurate than not, and the report was approved by a cross section of (essentially) denialists through to alarmists with the former being politically involved in the right places (to be polite).

What does this mean? As was stated, agriculture will have to adapt as it will be affected negatively in some regions and positively in others, but the oceans are also being affected as are the migratory patterns of animal life as well as species themselves. The food chain will necessarily change as will costs of food and some have predicted future wars will be over water and arable land having an amenable climate for agriculture, not just over oil or minerals.

All that will (not might or could I as I see it) have a profound affect on consumers of the future. Want a drink of clean water, or a gold bar? The value of each could well reverse sooner than many think, or with enough good fortune in technology, perhaps not at all?


A rather frightening article regarding changing weather in any postcode in Australia.


They can be, and why in addition to the words the sections of the report relating to food security were provided…rather than specific words. It is also worth reading the report (in part or full) to gain an appreciation of the complex nature of the science and what is trying to be predicted through modelling.

The IPCC report indicates that the global costs increases on foods due to climate change "are about as likely as not,*

I anticipate that in some locations prices could increase, while in others price may decrease…which is not very different to the historical pricing of food commodities which have largely been affected by weather events (floods, droughts, low rainfall seasons, high rainfall season, prolonged usually cool/hot weather etc), war, diesase etc.

I expect there could also be greater localised variation where fluctuation in prices in higher (higher prices than usual when commodities are scarce compare to demand and lower prices whan usual when commodities are in abundance). This could occur if the weather systems result in higher variability in seasonal weather events (the distribution of different weather events increases).

As/since the world has become more globalised, the potential fluctuations in prices have been mitigated by ability to efficiently and effectively ship foods to almost anywhere in the globe. However, globalisation has also benefited those who can afford (developed nations) the additional cost of handling, storing and transport of foods. The costs of food in developing nations is significantly higher percentage of ones income that occurs in the developed nations. The positive impact of globalisation is that there is potential that the prosperity and living standard of developing nations can increase as they can export things they are good at and import those which they aren’t. Such was not possible before globalisation and localised impacts (drought, famine, floods etc) hit very hard as they could only rely on what they had locally for sustenance…

One area not considered above is the potential move to biofuels as a result of government policy shift away from fossil fuels (especially in the heavy and long distance transport sector). The production of biofuels may compete directly with foods and if this occurs, it will result in a greater demand on food commodities which can be converted in biofuels. This has the potential to result in higher prices through supply/demand impacts on price.

While biofuels from grains, oil seeds and legumes have been often thought of as a potential solution for long distance heavy transport, they may have their own limitations if we as a globe, want to feed everyone. There is however research being carried out on waste and non-food biomass (e.g. algae) as alternatives to food based biofuels. Hopefully this finds a viable solution/alternatives.

That is right.

For may of the potential impacts, there is low confidence in what is likely to occur as a result of global warming/climate change. There are a lot of unknown unknowns which will possibly become known unknown when they come into fruition or more accurate models/data become available.

There unfortunately are many in the media who take the unknown unknowns with low level of confidence in the IPCC report and communicate this as fact as news. Any reference to potential climate change impacts should be qualified with the confidence level…if not, then it could be misreporting of the information available.

It is worth reading the volumes of the IPCC report…something I did after it came out a while ago and I understand the next report/update is due next year. Hopefully this will also be worth the time to read and I have the time to do so…

At the end of the day…the main questions are

Do we do nothing in relation to climate change and wait and see what happens and hope we (the global community) can respond?


Do we try and anticipate what the future climate change impacts are to the best of our ability, prepare or plan adaption and carry out climate change minimisation if and where possible?

I am a supporter of the second approach, but the challenges will be to anticipate what the impacts are. If we take an adaption route and the impacts are the same as anticipated or different to that anticipated, as least we are already ‘dancing’ and able to change our steps to what the future brings. It may also provide scientific and technological advances in food production which would not have otherwise been the case.

I believe that sitting and doing nothing (or sticking ones head in the sand hoping it goes away) is not a solution to the future success of the world’s population…


Not producing more consumers could be viewed as an effect, I guess:

Climate change is likely to have negative impacts on food production:

Though some will label it alarmist, there are increasing calls for urgent steps to reduce our impact on climate - even to declare a climate emergency. Many have come to realise (or believe, if that’s the way your mind bends) that we’re facing changes to which we can no longer pretend that we’ll be able to adapt. That our choices are:

  • quickly change our ways to minimse our impact or;
  • face the worst that nature can throw at us,

When naive optimism and motivated denial are no longer tolerated;
when we’re forced to pull out all stops to reduce our impact;
how will consumers be affected?


The ABC reported today some of the work being done by UQ in relation to agriculture climate change adaption research…and how agricultural science technologies can mitigate or take advantage of the potential impacts of climate change.

I expect that there will be other scientific breakthroughs in the future.

Investing in such science will ensure that the agronomic impacts on the consumer as a result of climate change, are mitigated. Such outcomes are not only positive for Australian science, but for humans adapting to climate change.

I wonder if the ABC obtained the idea for this story from this forum…


While the Storms that hit NSW can not be explicitly linked to Climate Change (CC), the trend towards more severe weather events can be. With increasing severe events the likelihood of increased damage thus higher bills to repair will strain many already fragile budgets both of homeowners, renters and Governments. As has already been pointed out in posts above this will also increase the pressure on Insurance companies and then that will flow into risk assessment, cost increases and even denial of cover.

This will not be a simple one bandaid answer to fix the issues arising out of the effects on our weather patterns due to CC and requires action now to limit as much as possible the effects of these changes. I am not suggesting that crop research isn’t a good step but there are many factors that will impact our ability to adapt or possibly even survive CC. Weather patterns, changes to arable land “placement” (moving of bands where crops can be grown successfully), potable water, changes to ocean currents many of which are driven by cold/hot differentials, loss of land, severe flooding, severe drought, impacts on animal and plant populations and the important interactions these have on our wellbeing. The list is huge and we like to look at positives and that is great but many times this “glosses” over the underlying and very worrying issues.


Even the trends are not fully known yet as there is insufficient data available to fully understand what impacts climate change will have on all types of extreme weather. The current IPCC report indicates that while the data on anthropogenic impacts on greater number of hot days and less cold nights is strong (very high confidence or about 90% confidence) and potentially heatwaves (less confidence around 66%, many other forms of extreme impacts the trends and lower levels of confidence which makes then somewhat unclear and not reliable.

See Chapter 2 of the IPCC report, IPCC, 2013: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp. (note: This document is very large 366MB)

Many politicians and the media unfortunately use a single extreme or severe weather event (like a severe storm, drought, floods etc) to suggest a direct correlation between the event and climate change. Unfortunately, the IPCC reports indicate that the jury is currently out in relation to such correlations.

As outlined above, over time and as more data is collected which can be used to refine climate models and also produce higher confidence in the model outputs. This will provide greater reliability on the potential effects of climate on many extreme climatic events.

Linking a specific weather event to climate change like parts of the media or some politicians could be considered alarmist. It would be truer for such to say that it is tragedy is unfortunate for those impacted and in the future, the effects of climate change on the intensity of many weather events is currently full known or understood.

I also just found this summary which googling which provides a high level summary of some of Chapter 2…

As many of the potential impacts of climate change on extreme weather events have a high unreliability, it does not mean we should sit on our hands and do nothing. The cost to take action/prepare for adaption now (such as building above future HATs due to sea level rises or designing building to cope with higher winds or hotter temperatures) is low compared to the cost of retrofitting/relocating building in the future to make them habitable, in the event that climate change is shown to cause more intense events.


Doubt is the name of the product,
Delay is the name of the game.
We cannot delay indefinitely.
We cannot adapt infinitely.
Before the event, we cannot be certain (confident perhaps, but not certain).
We therefore have no choice but to act in uncertainty.
Further delay is neither rational nor decent.

Greta Thunberg has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, in part because:

“the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict,”

That’s another effect of climate change on consumers. Impacts of climate change have been mentioned as among causes of the Syrian civil war, which led to the rise of ISIS. The role of climate change in refugee flows cannot be determined with any certainty, but the probability can’t be honestly denied.

In a 1990s TV series, James Burke played the role of a historian from the year 2050. Among scenes from his past, he recounts troops machine-gunning climate refugees as they swarmed up beaches in north western Australia. So far, we’ve got by with offshore concentration camps, but it isn’t cheap. The ultimate source of every dollar is we, the consumers. Bullets might be cheaper but, if we’re stupid enough, we won’t be able to buy enough bullets. Sadly, we are evidently stupid enough.

Today, the young are demonstrating their concerns. They rightly say that the world can’t wait for them to grow up and take control. Perhaps it’s time for the putative adults who currently hold positions of power to do some growing up themselves.


Something I possibly should have noted is any cost increase in relation to adaption irrespective if an impact eventuates may result in higher insurance premiums due to potentially higher replacement costs. These higher insurance premiums will be passed onto the consumer.


An article regarding how climate change has affected the planet recently.


Here is an interesting article about farming and climate change. At first I passed over it thinking we are not here to re-hash the whole debate. But the article isn’t about whether climate change is real but why people, especially farmers, deny it. If we accept that some adaptation will be required to maintain our food sources then getting farmers to act requires them to first accept the reality.

I will not summaries it as the item isn’t very long but draw to your attention the author’s take that conservative attitude (ie farmers) are linked to denial but also (this is more interesting) to the level of GHG produced. So the linkage is stronger in the high per capita emitters USA and Oz. This is something to consider when pondering agricultural adaptation and the National Party.


Thanks for pointing this article out. It provides a useful insight to change in the agricultural sector. One which could impact food security and consumer prices adversely if it is unsuccessful.

After the electricity generation sector, combined transport and agriculture are equally significant contributors to GHG emissions in Australia.

They also need to respond and change to reduce emissions to achieve Australia’s longer term targets.

Changing how agriculture is managed is also an area of significant opportunity through changes in land use. These can increase GHG effects or help to deliver improvements, assuming the industry does not reject the need. The reasons why resistance might continue are candidly discussed in the article.


Cow farts (more accurately burps) are usually brought up in this context and then we move to asking if we should be eating less meat. Rather than go just to there I would like to see the whole GHG cost of industries, including agriculture, assessed. For example rotting of vegetation which returns carbon to the atmosphere is a normal part of the carbon cycle but maybe it could be reduced by adopting methods that retain more carbon in the soil. The attitude that the atmosphere is an unlimited sink for waste products and using it has no cost has got to go.

Another angle related to both transport and agriculture is the diesel subsidy. The theory is that it is a rebate for fuel tax paid by off-road users. Since fuel tax is supposed to go to roads and they don’t use roads they get it back. But what happens when we stop using fossil fuels for vehicles? What will replace the fuel tax to pay for roads? Logically if we have some form of road usage tax instead and you don’t use roads you don’t pay. Thus there is no rebate for off road use. So agriculture and mining would pay the same as everybody else for fuel: the lobbyists will be preparing their war chests and tactics already.


The transport sector.
The NRMA has a view that could see the early end of the automobile industry as we know it. The RACQ has a more ‘conservative’ view more in keeping with it’s base?

It’s a bold position statement with unknown cost impacts for motorists.

The RACQ suggests not rushing in and going one step at a time.

Should consumers put off buying their next car until the dust settles? Or will a future more conservative government underwrite the future values of second hand petrol guzzlers? To be sure the retail industry does not self implode through indecision and uncertainty. We can all look to the current state of electrical power supply and costs to guess at the impacts on the consumer if it is all left unresolved?


Sudden large shifts in markets brought about by fiat have a risk of unintended negative consequences.

Can the vehicle industry actually tool up and meet this production target?

Is it good or even sensible to wipe out hybrids?

Will the existing recharging network cope and if not can it be expanded in time? Who builds it?

Will the losers get compensation, how much, who pays?

I like the idea of pressing on with real change in energy and fuel use but only if it is thought right through.


For any who have not picked up on it, the ABC has a straight forward take on climate change by major sector.

Two easy take aways from the report.

The rate of increase of GHG emissions in Australia has accelerated since the changes to government policy after 2013. Please excuse any political overtone. It’s simply an observation, and may be purely coincidental.

The only major sector to have shown improvement is electricity generation. Many consumers (2 million homes with roof top solar) have been putting in significant commitments. It’s not clear whether any consumers are getting the full benefit given the recent massive increases in company profits in the sector. Lower feedin tariffs for PV owners, higher costs for non owners appear counter to the profits being taken.

The apparent rort with the governement (tax payers) funding offset schemes while large GHG emitters such as the export gas industry continue to increase emissions has a massive potential for future impacts. Firstly in consumers having to do more in the future (behaviour changes of passed on costs) to reduce GHG emissions in other areas. Secondly in the relative cost of such subsidies relative to the taxes collected, or not from the industry.


The surprising thing here is that they took time out from selling extraneous only vaguely motoring related products like travel., insurance, etc to talk about actual ‘motoring issues’, even if they are hardly ‘supporting motorists’ in the process …


An article regarding Rio Tinto getting serious on climate change.


Food has been a popular topic in this thread. What does everyone think about this idea?