Australia's main scientific research agency says it has produced the most accurate projections of climate change ever made - and the outlook is not good for Australia. Phil Mercer reports from Sydney, where the gloomy figures were presented this week to delegates at a major international conference on climate change.
The report comes from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO.
Scientists there told an environment conference in Sydney that average temperatures across Australia will rise by about 1 degree by 2030, and possibly by a further 5 degrees by 2070.
Rainfall patterns are likely to be affected too, making droughts more severe.
The CSIRO report says these climate-change projections are the most accurate ever produced.
Scott Power is the head of climate research at the Bureau of Meteorology, and he worked with CSIRO on the report. He says there is little doubt left that the warming of the planet is due to man-made factors.
"If we want to avoid those most serious and most worrying projections then we have to dramatically reduce the emissions," he said. "We're more confident now than ever before that the bulk of the warming we've seen over the last 50 years or so is due to human activity, due to the release of greenhouses gases that's occurred over the last 150 years."
The CSIRO report says the agency is convinced that the burning of fossil fuels is contributing to rising temperatures, even though some climate experts believe it is all part of a natural cycle.
Australia pumps out more so-called greenhouse gases per person than almost any other country in the world.
The country's emissions come principally from electricity generation, the majority of which is produced by coal-fired power stations.
CSIRO's predictions were presented at the "Greenhouse 2007" conference held earlier this week in Sydney. It drew climate scientists, policy makers and industry representatives from around the world.
Prime Minister John Howard has insisted he is taking the environmental challenges seriously. But his conservative government has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, saying it would cost jobs and damage Australia.