Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Australia on Fire

Climate

Greenpeace Australia

By Georgina Woods

[Editor's note: In case you missed it, as Australia is suffering from the hottest day on record, yesterday the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its monthly State of the Climate report, which showed 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental U.S. Media Matters for America released a report yesterday showing that even with 2012 being the hottest year on record in the continental U.S., climate coverage from mainstream media remained minimal.]

Australia has suffered through its hottest day on record, and more heat waves are forecast. If we want to spare our children worse to come, we need to stop creating greenhouse pollution.

Photo: Bureau or Meteorology

"A few minutes later, an image arrived which was really—it's still quite upsetting to see the image - it's all of our five children underneath the jetty huddled up to neck-deep sea water which is cold, we've swam the day before and it was cold,” said Bonnie Walker, of Dunalley, Tasmania, while describing how her children and parents spent three hours in the water to survive the bushfire that destroyed their home.

“Heatwaves, fires, floods and southern Australian droughts are all expected to become more frequent and more intense in the coming decades. Snow and frost are very likely to become rarer or less intense events. Locally and regionally, the greatest impacts will be felt through changes in water availability and sea level, and extreme weather events,” according to the publication Climate Change: Science and Solution s for Australia.

Sometimes, you make a decision at the moment of a crisis that determines your fate. Sometimes, crises are short-lived and you can get underwater, get to high ground, lock yourself in a cellar, ride out the worst.

Climate change isn’t like that. The lead times for cause and effect are much longer and more lingering. The decisions we’ve made, worldwide, for the last two decades are costing lives and livelihoods right now, as the effects of climate change intensify. In some countries, this may mean more severe cold weather, in Australia, we get an intensification of our floods, heatwaves and fire.

Global warming, brought by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, is changing the climate. It is increasing global temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. It is increasing the probability of extreme fire weather days in Australia, like the ones we’ve experienced around the country this week and in Tasmania last week.1

Over the coming decades, climate change will continue this trend resulting in greater numbers of extremely hot days and intense heatwaves. On the current climate change trajectory, the number of days over 35°C each year is likely to rise substantially in all major cities by the end of the century. For example, in Darwin they could rise from the current 11 to more than 300 days each year.2

Under a scenario of unmitigated climate change the annual number of temperature related deaths could increase from an estimated 5,800 in 1990 to 7,900 in 2050 and 17,200 in 2100.3

When it comes to climate change, we won’t be able to hide from the flames. Action we take this year won’t change the conditions we experience next summer. But if we take action to stop dumping greenhouse pollution in the sky, it might just change the summer our kids have in 2030.

Our hearts are too full of compassion and worry about our country men and women fighting fires right now to outline how Australia can save the summer of 2030.

For now, we’re crouching in the cool and waiting for the storm to pass. But, when it’s over and we’re counting the cost, we hope very much that you will join us in fighting to keep the heat down for our little ones.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

--------

Georgina Woods is a climate campaigner at Greenpeace Australia.

Notes

1Climate Commission Secretariat (2011) The Critical Decade: Climate science, risks and responses. Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) ISBN: 978-1-921299-50-6 (pdf)

2CSIRO and BOM (2007) Climate change in Australia: technical report 2007. CSIRO. ISBN 9781921232947 (PDF)

3 Bambrick, H., Dear, K., Woodruff, R., Hanigan, I., and McMichael, A. (2008). The Impacts of Climate Change on Three Health Outcomes: Temperature-Related Mortality and Hospitalisations, Salmonellosis and Other Bacterial Gastroenteritis, and Population at Risk From Dengue. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Zak Smith

It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Hector Chapa

With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.

But can these masks be effective?

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Jörg Carstensen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

Bayer AG is reneging on negotiated settlements with several U.S. law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who claim exposure to Monsanto's Roundup herbicides caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sources involved in the litigation said on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.

Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.

Read More Show Less
In Germany's Hunsrück village of Schorbach, numerous photovoltaic systems are installed on house roofs, on Sept. 19, 2019. Thomas Frey / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.

Read More Show Less