Climate change in the SMH

I noticed five stories directly related to climate change in the Sydney Morning Herald Today (not including coverage of the floods, cyclone and other extreme weather events). I don’t often sit and read the paper, but it was so hot today that we become airconditioner refugees and spent the day in a variety of public places (including a public library and indoor pool). It meant I had time to read the paper.

A polar bear swam non-stop for nine days. “IN ONE of the most dramatic signs documented of how shrinking Arctic sea ice impacts polar bears, researchers at the US Geological Survey in Alaska have tracked a female bear that swam nine days across the deep, frigid Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe 685 kilometres offshore.”

Amazon drought threatens to speed warming. “SCIENTISTS fear billions of tree deaths in the Amazon caused by drought could turn the forest from a carbon sink to a carbon source.”

Power bills rises set to double. “The decision to shelve the carbon pollution reduction scheme will result in households paying more for their electricity than if it had gone ahead.”

Flat-earthers, it’s time for a cold shower. According to Mike Carlton “Given this catalogue of global disaster, would now be a good time for the climate change flat-earthers to shut up and listen, do you think? Just for a day or two, or even five minutes?”

The fierce new climate we are creating. In an editorial the Herald suggested that “Julia Gillard has set herself the task of putting a price on carbon for this term of her government, for which Ross Garnaut is doing some of the advance work. He is revising his report on climate change and updating it with the latest research. Garnaut’s work is necessary – it provides an intellectual basis for the measures the government will need to take. But if Australians are to change their ways, and to cede the unenviable title of the world’s worst greenhouse-gas polluters per head, it will not be enough. Australia’s voters need to be convinced that change is needed, indeed desirable. Gillard will find that difficult.”

There can be no doubt that we are experiencing extreme weather. Again according to the SMH editorial, Munich Re (a re-insurance company) reports that “steady increase in the frequency of extreme weather events from about 10 a year in 1980 to more than 40 a year now.”

Even Tony Abbot recognised that Cyclone Yasi was “undoubtedly an unprecedented furious storm” but I haven’t seen any evidence of him thinking we need to do anything about it.

We seem to be slowly building agreement that we need to take urgent action on climate change. Will it be fast enough?

Amazon drought threatens to speed warming

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
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