Ray Wills

School of Earth and
The University of Western Australia


In an ongoing role since 1996, I have held the honorary appointment of Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with the School of Earth and Environment (formerly the Department of Geography, and then the School of Earth and Geographical Sciences) at the University of Western Australia. In June 2009 I was awarded the title of Adjunct Professor in recognition of my contribution to the University and its programs.

In 2002, I have been engaged in various elements of teaching as a Senior Lecturer (part-time) for the 3rd Year Course on Environmental Change (EART3320), a course that examines the roles of natural variability, human impact and models for the understanding of processes on the global scale form a major component of the unit. Emphasis is given in lectures to techniques and approaches for investigating change, while the program of workshops and reading focuses on following scientific debate on key questions, and reporting on the effects of expected future climates as a consequence of global warming on important environmental and socio-economic issues for Australia. In the first few years, I was also responsible for setting and assessing assignments and exams for the course.

As Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, I have also supervised a range of undergraduate (including Honours) and postgraduate research projects, and provide advice to staff and students within my areas of expertise. I was consulted in the review of the structure of the Earth Sciences group at UWA and have also contributed to strategic planning workshops for the development of the new School of Earth and Geographical Sciences - now the School of Earth and Environment.

Global warming is not just warming the atmosphere - it is a lot more including CO2 change, warming oceans, changing ocean chemistry, and melting ice caps to name a few - these are all measured, actual changes without precedent in the last 750 000 years, and very probably the last 25 million years.

Since 2006 I have given a range of talks on the Science of Greenhouse for a number of groups including:

  • The Western Australian branch of the Australian Institute of Energy - "The Science In Global Warming and the Consequences for Greenhouse Earth" presented Wednesday 15th February 2006. http://www.aie.org.au/past.htm
  • The WA Sustainable Energy Association (WASEA) - Debate on journalism and greenhouse - Thursday 18 May 2006. http://www.wasea.com.au/
  • Doctors for the Environment Australia - "The Science In Global Warming - living on Greenhouse Earth" - Saturday 10 June 2006. http://www.dea.org.au/.
  • GHD forum on global warming and business on Thursday 29 June 2006 put together by GHD. I joined a panel discussion following presentations by Dr Chris Lund and Jake DeBoer from GHD on the topic "Greenhouse Gas - More than Hot Air". The forum was part of GHD's Sustainability Seminars for 2006.
  • Panelist on climate change and business at the Global Gateway Conference, 4 April 2007.
  • Invited speaker 'Optimising the contribution of renewable energy in the new market’ 8th Annual WA Power 2007, 2 May 2007
  • Panel facilitator. ‘Should we invest in a biofuels future for WA’. WA Biofuels Forum, 9 May 2007
  • Panel facilitator. ‘Thermal Comfort and WABASIX’ WASEA Fenestrations presentation, 10 May 2007
  • 10 Years to Change - Labor Party policy forum panel discussion of responses to the Climate Crisis, 29 May 07
  • Commentator at preview screening of 'Crude Awakening' for Luna Cinemas, 5 Jun 07
  • Panelist for Sustainability Practitioners Association’s - Australia’s Energy Future at the Crossroads: An interactive panel discussion, 24 Jul 2007
  • Invited participant, Science Meets Parliament, Parliament of Western Australia 14 Aug 07
  • Chief Executives Development Organisation (CEDO) function “Western Australia in 20 years – addressing sustainability.” Presentation on Sustainability and the impact of global warming in WA. 15 Aug 07
  • Climate change and the coast: think global act local. Invited workshop facilitator and rapporteur Climate change and the coast conference, Mandurah 20 Aug 2007
  • Global Warming, Spin, and The Republicans in the Whitehouse’ School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, The university of Western Australia, Seminar Series 1 Dec 2006.
  • The Gorey truth - sternly facing the spin of the naysayers to global warming. Presentation to Glyde-In Community forum, 20 Feb 07
  • Responding to global warming. Department of Industry and Resources presentation to Executive Management Group, 27 Feb 2007
  • Climate change – impact in Western Australia and implications for biological research. School of Biological Sciences, Murdoch University, 23 Apr 07
  • Climate change in Western Australia, and government policy responses – Chamber of Minerals and Energy NGO Industry Environment Forum, 29 May 07
  • Women of the West Environmental Breakfast - Climate change in Western Australia, 8 June 07
  • Keynote presentation Responding to climate change in Western Australia - Climate Change Seminar Series hosted by the University of Western Australia and the Western Australia Government 12 Jun 07
  • A changing climate – the truth is out there. Presentation for WALIS Advisory Cou ncil Workshop on ‘Spatial Information and the Insurance Industry’, 19 Jun 07.
  • Space invaders - changing levels, climate change and the sea - Spatial Sciences Institute Regional Conference, 19 Jul 07.
  • Impact of climate change on Western Australia – presentation for Department of Agriculture and Food, 24 Jul 07
  • A spatial look at climate change impacts and WA - NGIS breakfast, 2 Aug 07
  • Exploring the Risks and Responsibilities of Climate Change – presentation to MOSS workshop, 2 Aug 2007.
  • Climate change impacts and WA - seminar presentation Research Unit for the Study of Societies in Change (RUSSIC), Curtin University of Technology, 10 Aug 2007
  • How will climate change affect your business in the Peel region? 2007 Peel Economic Development Unit Breakfast Series. 17 Aug 07
  • Trading places – warming to a climate for sustainable reform of the carbon economy in WA - presentation to Conservation Council WA – Emissions Trading Systems: Preparing Australia for a Carbon Controlled Future? 7 Sep 07

On another dimension, on 22 July 2006, together with Johanna Gastevich from WA SEA, I also helped host a preview for 500 Western Australians of the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" at Luna Cinema for Kate Ledger at United International Pictures. The documentary, from director Davis Guggenheim, features former Vice President Al Gore and his actions over his long and exemplary career in US politics to raise awareness of global warming by exposing the myths and misconceptions that skeptics attempt to smother action, and highlighting the great threat posed by climate change and calling for urgent action by all individuals, by all communities, and by their nations.

I have also assisted Russell Woolf, Sarah Knight and the whole Perth ABC 720 team promote the film.

In my view, governments of all nations must make all efforts to inform the community about the climate change that has already occurred and will increasingly manifest in a dangerous changes to global processes, to show strong leadership in practical measures to effectively mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to reduce harm to future generations, and more particularly to prioritise efforts to adapt to the consequences of global warming. See more here.

Here are some examples about enhanced greenhouse impacts in WA:

WA as first Western economy with measurable impact of global warming creating climate change.

WA SW has already suffered a 20% decline in rainfall in the last 30 years - effects on runoff are potentially serious as evidenced by a 50% drop in water supply to the reservoirs supplying Perth - and a further 20% reduction predicted – thought to have already started at the end of the 1990s. Value of water in dams is estimated at $1 billion lost income in water sales in WA.

With global warming and drying of the south coast in WA, if temperature increase more than 2 degree (as predicted) and rainfall drops consistently below 400 mm (as predicted) through the WAs northern and southern sandplain most species of Banskia in WA's southwest will die out...

Changes in weather will impact on wheat growing areas in SW WA largely wiping out most of an industry worth more than $2 billion.

Shifting rainfall patterns and drier conditions are likely to change the way vineyards operate and will reduce the wine crop - Western Australia produces less than 10% of all Australian wine, but produces about 25% of the wine in the super-premium and ultra-premium categories.

Sea levels have risen in Western Australia 18.5 cm in the last 100 years (as globally) with predictions that this will at minimum double (38 cm forecast) and very probably triple (more than 48 cm) in the next hundred years. The potential for a one metre sea level rise by the end of this century is not an extreme estimate, but is well within the bounds of scientifically-based predictions. With those sorts of rises, much of the low lying areas around areas like Perth, Fremantle, Mandurah and Busselton/Margaret River are under threat, and coastal freshwater swamps will go saline

Submerged fringing reefs currently a barrier protecting parts of Perth’s coastline will be further submerged allowing bigger waves to previously sheltered beaches.

In other places in WA, bleaching of coral from higher ocean temperatures will kill parts of the Ningaloo Reef just as it will the Great Barrier Reef.

Other WA impacts will be on human health, the need for businesses to get ready for climate change, and for State and Federal government actually do something significant.

Despite all the evidence, much of the media behaves as though the jury is still out, while politicians drag their feet in finding a meaningful national and global response.



Climate politics in action

Call to respond to climate change

Information sources on climate change

Scitech website item


Back to Ray's Home Page

Created: January 6, 2006

Last updated: April 26, 2013

This page has been visited times since 6 January 2006.