Sitting here with the aircon turned on, and a hot north wind blowing outside, it’s hard not to be afraid, especially after seeing this graph:
The graph charts temperatures over the last 100 years – from 1910 to 2010. Not surprisingly, blue represents years of below average cold and red represents years of above average heat. And no, it wasn’t your imagination – summers really have been getting hotter.
My growing up years [1950s to 1970s] were mild. We did get the odd hot day in Melbourne. We even experienced the odd heatwave, but they were unusual events. I know, because we did not even own a fan back then! Now, I can’t imagine living without an air-conditioner.
Unfortunately, heat is not the only thing that’s changed. Nor will it be the only thing that gets worse. I highly recommend reading the complete report from the Climate Council:
Click to access 1b331044fb03fd0997c4a4946705606b.pdf
You can also read an abbreviated, ‘highlights of’ article about the report here:
Now think about these facts – every year for the last three years has been the hottest on record. That means since we’ve been measuring and recording temperature.
According to the Climate Change deniers and skeptics, what we’re experiencing is just another ‘cycle’ in the earth’s climate history. We’ve had ice ages, now we’re having a period of heat. The one thing they’re not ‘having’ is that this period of heat might be caused by humans rather than natural fluctuations.
So let’s take that perspective to its natural conclusion: the world may be getting hotter and climate may be getting more extreme, but it’s not our fault so there’s nothing we can do about it except ‘suck it up’ [and hope we all survive].
To me, that is the most terrifying, defeatist outlook possible. Yes, it does allow for ‘business as usual’, but only because disaster is inevitable so we may as well make money while we can.
By contrast, almost all of the actual climate change scientists say that this distopian outlook is not inevitable. It will take a lot of work, and things will get worse before they get better, but there’s a good chance that we’ll survive…if we clean up the mess we’ve made.
As one of the canaries in the coal mine, I much prefer the optimistic outlook, don’t you?
But why do I imply that Australians are canaries in the coal mine? Isn’t that fate reserved for the island nations of the Pacific?
Um, no, actually. Australia has quite a delicate climate. Yes, I know, how can deserts and bushfires be delicate? What I mean is that we already experience extremes thanks to our geography which means that climate change will have less work to do to make extreme turn into unbearable.
But it is the Australia inhabited by this generation’s grandchildren, 2090, where the heat will really be on, if greenhouse gas emissions worldwide fail to meet current reduction targets.
By that year the report predicts Darwin will have a staggering 265 days each year above 35C.
That quote was taken from the news.com.au article, but the data comes from the Climate Council report [linked above].
Melbourne won’t fare so badly in terms of temperature, but we’ll have other worries – such as increased droughts and a great many more bushfires. If we continue with business as usual, life will be close to unbearable for our children and their children. This is not some dystopian, science fiction plot line I’ve come up with to give you all a good scare. This is real, my friends, and becoming harder to fix with every day we procrastinate.
Back in 2009, eight years ago now, Malcolm Turnbull lost the leadership of the Liberal Party because he supported the Rudd, Labor government, in its attempts to get a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme up and running. Many Australians honoured Turnbull for that, seeing him as a politician of integrity. Many Australians supported his return to the leadship of the Liberal party for the same reason. I know I did. 😦
But where is Turnbull now? Shackled to the idiology of the ultra Right, that’s where. These Conservatives do not believe in human induced climate change. As a result, they fight tooth and nail to keep Australia from shifting to a low or neutral carbon economy [read renewables instead of coal]. If Turnbull wants to stay in power, he has to appease these deniers and skeptics.
Well guess what? Turnbull has been appeasing these deniers and skeptics. The latest ‘clean’ coal proposals are the greatest betrayal possible because Turnbull must know that the holy grail of clean coal will never be achieved. Even with the most stringest technologies currently available [which would make electricity from coal more expensive not less], coal fired power plants would still produce more emissions than gas fired power plants. Yes, gas. Not solar, not wind, not wave or geothermal, but gas.
I no longer believe that Malcolm Turnbull is a man of integrity. He has what he wanted all along – the Prime Ministership – and he’ll betray everything he believes in to keep it. Thanks, Malcolm. I hope your stay at Kirribilli House is short.
February 12th, 2017 at 11:57 am
It’s a worry… macro & micro concerns collide.We spent time & money setting our house up, building on its sensible 1930’s eco-friendly construction & n/e orientation by adding roof insulation, window awnings, nurturing & adding to the leafy garden which not being in a bushfire zone is thankfully do-able. However, we had to cave in and install a new energy efficient aircon (the old inefficient window unit was counterproductive), using it only necessarily…but we’d have preferred not to. Our whole goal was to use less power but hotter summers means our passive measures weren’t sufficient, so we use more power, which makes our summers hotter. We’re investigating solar panels, which we didn’t want… more stuff… but our roof may not be suitable. It’s perplexing at every level.
February 12th, 2017 at 1:29 pm
Yeah, I put in as much passive energy savings as I could so on most days, the house stays bearable until late afternoon, but then it does get hot.
I don’t feel too bad about the aircon as we’ve got solar panels so the energy use is offset, at least up to a point, nevertheless, like you, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
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February 10th, 2017 at 10:44 am
Have you heard of the possible merger between chemical giants Monsanto and Bayer to create a $100 billion agribusiness? That’s when we’d all be in serious trouble.
February 10th, 2017 at 12:41 pm
Yes, I have and it scares me silly. The size of corporations should be capped. They already have more power behind the scenes than any of us mere plebs know. When will democractically elected governments no long have the /power/ to say no to them?
February 9th, 2017 at 6:20 pm
I sit somewhere in the middle on this. I recently read (and I can’t remember where) a reputable scientist saying that it was naïve to believe that human activities could change the climate on their own….and yet is seems clear that we are an exacerbating factor to something that is real and happening as we speak. That chart is scary indeed! What to do and how to change in time to make a difference with all the politics in this world – there’s the rub.
February 10th, 2017 at 10:37 am
Science is never a static thing. As data and knowledge accrue, old theories change or get thrown out altogether but…there are so many different branches of science telling the same, scary story. That is what convinced me. That, plus “The Grapes of Wrath” and pictures I once saw of the American Dust Bowl. Those were changes on the ground, not in the air, but if simple farmers were capable of doing that to a huge area of the earth, then why is it so hard to believe that all our activity, taken together, can’t affect the climate of the whole world?
There are so many of us now that our technology has become a force of nature in itself. 😦
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February 9th, 2017 at 2:46 pm
I doubt it will matter very much what you do in Australia now that rump has decided not to honour the Paris accords on climate change and carbon emissions. And, he wants to have more drilling for oil and mining for coal.
Instead of just saying “There’s no such thing a global warming but we’ll stick to our agreement and be careful anyway” he’s in full denial and appoints a nay sayer as his Secretary of the Environment. Plus he’s selling over 3 million acres of Federal Land (read National Parks) so that his pals can enrich themselves digging for coal and drilling for oil.Insanity.
xxx Massive Hugs xxx
February 9th, 2017 at 3:22 pm
You’re right about the insanity, but I disagree about the hopelessness of the situation. The US is not the only player in the world, and climate change is a global problem. China and India are at least as important, and those countries are in our neck of the woods. We can’t say ‘fix your pollution problems’ when we’re the highest polluter – per capita – in the world. We may be small in terms of population, but that doesn’t excuse hypocrisy. Plus, climate change will hurt us, badly. So sick of living with our collective heads in the sand. 😦
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February 9th, 2017 at 1:23 pm
Well, it seems as though you have similar poor thinkers in government in Australia as we do in the U.S. The governor of the state of Florida, where people who live near Miami have flooded lawns every full moon, does not allow the words “Climate Change or Global Warming” to be spoken by government employees.
Although we now have the enormous toddler for POTUS now and that is not helping.
I believe we will all have to do our individual parts to help clean up the mess.
Thank you for posting this information. I’ve passed it along to my Australian family.
February 9th, 2017 at 1:27 pm
Yeah, no monopolies on stupidity, north or south of the equator. I’m starting to truly understand the meaning of that old Jewish proverb about living in ‘interesting’ times. 😦