Climate change a burning issue

IT has been a hot, hot summer so far and the bushfires raging in our area and throughout Australia are just an outward symbol of what is going on with the climate.

Naysayers will argue that Australia has always been prone to bushfires, heatwaves and droughts.

Though this is true, the intensity and scope of the recent fires should however be signalling to all that maybe something else is afoot.

This is not ‘climate as usual’. We are seeing climate change in action. The Bureau of Meteorology even had to add two new colours to its weather maps. Things are heating up!

Unfortunately these fires and the recent extreme heat are not likely to be one off events. It is expected that in our future will see them more frequently and with increased intensity.

This was hit home in a little flagged, yet excellent, report released by the Australian Climate Commission, “Off the Charts: Extreme Australian Summer Heat”.

The key messages from the report are:

* The length, extent and severity of the current Australian heatwave is unprecedented in the measurement record.

* Although Australia has always had heatwaves, hot days and bushfires, climate change is increasing the risk of more frequent and longer heatwaves and more extreme hot days, as well as exacerbating bushfire conditions.

* Climate change has contributed to making the current extreme heat conditions and bushfires worse.

* Good community understanding of climate change risks is critical to ensure we take appropriate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to put measures in place to prepare for, and respond to, extreme weather.

The take home message from this report is clear – climate change is something that we can no longer ignore and hope will go away.

It is not something that will only affect future generations. It is here and it is now.

As a community we need to adapt to the changes that are already upon us and we need to work towards mitigating the consequences that are likely to arise in the future.

For this to happen there needs to be a general acceptance that climate change is happening.

It is easy living in an area as beautiful, clean and temperate as ours to be lulled into a false sense of security that all is well in the world. A quick look at the weather in the past year, however, tells a different story. Severe floods were experienced in China, the Philllipines, Bangladesh, Nigeria, the UK and Australia.

Drought affected millions in Africa, and Brazil and two-thirds of the continental USA.

Wildfires raged throughout Brazil, Colorado, Rwanda and Australia and superstorms such as Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha left death and destruction in their paths.

Severe climate events are happening more and more frequently throughout the world. This should be telling us something.

For more information on climate news and green living visit my blog at www.thegreenb苏州美睫培训.au


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