Feb 04, 2011 - 10:53am
Cyclones, drought, bushfires and floods are a normal part of life in Australia, but with the climate changing extreme weather events are becoming more extreme. A rapidly changing climate drives not just warmer but wilder weather.
Anyone looking for a picture of Australia life under a more hostile climate in a warming world need look no further than to Australia in the last few years: debilitating drought and heatwaves, catastrophic fires, extensive flooding and terrible storms.
It is always difficult to point to one extreme weather event and say, ‘this is climate change’. Climate change is measured over decades; weather is what happens day to day. There will always be natural variability in the climate too. What can be said, however, is that all of these events—including the most recent natural disasters in Australia—paint a picture entirely consistent with scientific predictions of climate change: As the world warms so the weather becomes wilder.
Climate change isn’t simply a matter of slowly rising temperatures and seas, it affects nearly all aspect of Australians’ way of life. It is costing billions in property damage, insurance premiums, health and welfare, and lost productivity. In the absence of swift and concerted action to cut domestic and global pollution, Australians can expect a more dangerous environment.