Friday, 11 December 2015

Preparing for a warmer Australia

As Andrew Bolt is fond of reminding us, actions by Australia to reduce carbon emissions have little impact in the overall scheme of things. What happens to the world's temperature will depend on global responses of which ours are but a small part.
I thought Ziggy Switkowski writing in The Australian this morning put it well:
it’s worth remembering that the futures of our coral reefs, coastlines, rainfall and drought patterns, and weather have little to do with Australia’s climate change strategy except, long term, where it helps discover globally useful enabling technologies or contributes to an international effort that is supported by the major emitters.
What is within the control of our government is taking steps to prepare for the warmer times ahead when with average temperatures one degree higher "Sydney may feel a bit more like Brisbane is today, or Beirut; Melbourne like a blend of Sydney, Adelaide and Rome."
... federal, state and local government attention must focus on helping us to adapt to and to mitigate near-term climate-driven changes in our environment and society in general. Fighting to preserve our current lifestyles may be a costly indulgence when pragmatic adaptive steps appropriate to the climate ahead are available to us. ...
We’ll need flood control systems, coastal protections, up­graded emergency response processes and technologies, energy and water-efficient buildings and landscapes, improved planning frameworks and zoning restrictions, state-of-the-art communications capability and efficient healthcare for more heat-stressed patients, plus forecasting and predictive capability for extreme weather events. These are ‘‘no regrets’’ steps — no matter the actual trend of our weather or the ultimate efficacy of emission reduction strategies.
These initiatives do not require global accords, are within our control, affordable and make sense under all planning scenarios. Australia could thrive rather than just survive in a globally warming world and, reassuringly, work is under way to this end.
The whole article is well worth the reading and it does not appea to be behind the paper's paywall.
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