Climate change Australia

Climate change Australia has many challenges. As many politicians are fond of saying Australia is a “country of drought and flood” and you can add heatwave, wildfire, desertification and rising sea levels to the list.

Apart from those related to ice, Australia has most of the main climate change effects already and predictions of worse to come.

In a Melbourne heat wave the mercury will top 40 degrees Celsius [104 degrees Fahrenheit] on consecutive days — 4 days in a row in the latest event in mid January 2014 that was estimated to cost the city $37 million in lost revenue.

It is so hot the railway tracks become unsafe. Trains are cancelled or delayed and many sweltering commuters are left stranded. 

Often the heat goes together with dry periods. When the wind gets up at the edges of the vast air masses catastrophic fire conditions are created — tinder dry vegetation with highly flammable leaves, twigs and dry grass on the ground just need a spark.

A wildfire is not something you forget in a hurry. 

Read what it feels like when a bushfire reaches your backyard

Even when a modest bushfire passes it clears out all the vegetation but it soon recovers — most of the trees in this picture survived

Environment Victoria's safe climate campaign manager Nicholas Aberle was recently asked to list the top five climate challenges for Australia. He came up with…

  1. Getting off coal — by retaining a price on carbon
  2. Getting on to renewables — even though in Victoria it is now easier to dig a new coal mine than to build a wind farm.
  3. Ending fossil fuel subsidies — currently around $10 billion per year 
  4. Stop facilitating the emissions of others — thanks to expanding coal exports Australia contributes around 5% to global emissions from just 0.3% of the global population.
  5. Get ready for what is coming and get on with it

In short, reduce emissions by getting off fossil fuels and get ready for extremes because they are coming, like it or not. 

Aberle’s solution for the climate change Australia challenge is to halt climate change — by stopping greenhouse gas emissions. 

This is a common one among climate change activists. 

Climate change adaptation is number 5 on this list. And as we all know, it is hard to get to actions that far down any list. So getting ready through climate change adaptation has little credence… yet. 

We have been happy to focus on emission reduction as the climate change solution because it really does not change much of what we do. Sure some large energy companies and their investors will take a hit as their coal-fired power stations become unprofitable stranded assets. But at the same time new investments appear to take up the power generation slack.

Consumers still pay for energy because they have plasma TVs to watch.  

Pragmatology of climate change Australia

Here are the top 5 climate change Australia challenges that climate-change-wisdom would put on the list… 

  1. Denial of anything that might burst the economic balloon
  2. Not knowing what climate change really is, it’s history and what causes change
  3. Not knowing what we are adapting to because we do not realize that adaptation is what got us here in the first place and is our only real future option
  4. Fiddling while Rome burns or, if you prefer, while the forests of NSW and Victoria burn, heat waves disable infrastructure, and the floodplains of Brisbane go underwater
  5. Denial of anything that might burst the economic balloon just in case we passed over it as number one on the list 

› climate change Australia

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aftermath of a bushfire in NSW, Australia

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