THE nation's biggest scientific body, the CSIRO, has warned of "significant species extinctions" if the Federal Government does not start including climate change scenarios in Australia's major environmental laws.
The warning comes in a submission from the CSIRO to a Senate inquiry which is investigating whether the nation's major environmental protection laws are adequate.
While the Senate inquiry is looking specifically at the effectiveness of threatened species and ecological protections, the Federal Government has not yet deserted a plan to hand over those same laws to the state government.
That plan was put on hold at the final Council of Australian Governments meeting in December, but was likely to remain on the COAG agenda for 2013.
In the CSIRO submission, officials wrote it was already likely to be significant losses of biodiversity in Australia as a result of climate change.
But the scientists went as far as to write that under current expectations, climate change was "likely to involve significant species extinctions", overwhelming the nation's environmental protection laws as they currently stand.
"The increasing risk of species becoming threatened under climate change has important implications for how to invest resources for species recovery," the submission reads.
"The magnitude and widespread nature of ecological change suggests the policy processes based on analysis, listing and management of threatened species would be overwhelmed."
But the CSIRO does offer some solutions, including recommending the government act now to include more climate change concerns in environmental protections, and giving the Federal Environment Department more resources to do its job.
The Senate committee is due to report its findings at the end of February next year.