Australia Climate Commission says warming risk is real

Stuart Highway, which links Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide 2001
Image caption Australia is one of the highest per capita carbon emitters in the world

The Australian Climate Commission has warned that the world's sea levels could rise by 1m by the end of the century, much more than thought.

In its first report, the commission says the evidence that the planet is warming is stronger than ever.

It said that climate science was being attacked in the media by people with no credentials in the field.

The Australian government has welcomed the report as it seeks public support for its proposed carbon tax.

The BBC's correspondent in Sydney, Nick Bryant, says the commission's report delivers a strong rebuke to those who question that human emissions are causing global warming.

It warned that the window to take action to limit global warming was closing fast.

Climate politicised

The report claims that climate science was ''being attacked in the media by many with no credentials in the field" and also that attempts to "intimidate climate scientists have added to the confusion in the public".

One member of the commission criticised the "fruitless phoney debate", and said that Australia "no longer had the luxury anymore of climate denialism", as he called it.

Polls suggest that support for forceful action on climate change has declined in Australia since the Copenhagen summit in 2009.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that she and the government accepted the commission's peer-reviewed report.

"We don't have time... for false claims in this debate," she said.

"The science is in, climate change is real. The science is clear - man-made carbon pollution is making a difference to our planet and our climate.

"We've got to get on with the job of cutting carbon pollution and having a rational debate about it."

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen, a climate change sceptic, told reporters in Canberra that all the evidence pointed to global temperatures stabilising.

He argues that a carbon tax would not achieve anything.

The Australian government had put plans for a flagship emissions trading scheme on hold until 2013 at the earliest after the Senate rejected it twice during the previous Kevin Rudd administration.

Australia is one of the highest per capita carbon emitters in the world.

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