March 5, 2014
The State of Climate Report --2014 is the third in a series of reports produced by CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and it confirms past trends and projections. No doubt the Abbott Government will ignore it as it continues its rhetoric of dumping the "carbon tax" so as to decrease the costs of business, restore profitability, and increase economic growth.
The State of Climate Report --2014 states that the evidence is clear that human-induced climate change is continuing to increase the risk of extreme weather and temperatures:
(1) Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes.
(2) Rainfall has declined since 1970 in the southwest, dominated by reduced winter rainfall. Autumn and early winter rainfall has mostly been below average in the southeast since 1990.
(3) Australian temperatures are projected to continue to increase, with more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.
(4) Average rainfall in southern Australia is projected to decrease, and heavy rainfall is projected to increase over most parts of Australia.
(5) Projected sea-level rise will increase the frequency of extreme sea-level events.
The Report also states that it is extremely likely that the dominant cause of recent warming is human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and not natural climate variability and is caused by continuing to pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
So the scenario for Australia is hot days, higher fire risk, more severe droughts. That means droughts are set to be more frequent, longer and more severe. Even if all emissions are stopped tomorrow, there is likely to be enough greenhouse gases in the atmosphere already to push the limits of the internationally agreed "guard rail" of two degrees of warming
No doubt the climate change deniers will continue to say that there is "nothing we can do about it as its just natural, climate has always changed and always will". Rejecting the science and doing nothing is betting on a very low probability scenario.
Failing to mitigate global warming by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions is fundamentally equivalent to continuing to smoke cigarettes, driving without a seat belt, or refusing to buy homeowner's insurance. Each of these situations represents the failure to take action to reduce the risks of a dangerous outcome.
Science isn't a matter of opinion. It's not like politics, where any topic of discussion can be debated by anybody with contrary views. Climate policy, in contrast, is in the realm of opinion. Australia's emissions come predominantly from burning coal for electricity hence the need for a price on carbon since it is designed to send a clear price signal to coal-fired power stations by charging them for each tonne of CO2 emitted.
The Abbott Govt's strategy on this, and other issues (the budget, debt, unemployment, de-industrialization) is not to govern the country; it is to wedge Labor. The bad economic news is all Labor's fault. The Abbott Govt's plan to fix things is being frustrated by the Labor Party in the Senate. Labor needs to be destroyed.