Climate Council: We’re all going to BURN

Via the Climate Council today:

A long-term warming trend from the burning of coal, oil and gas is supercharging extreme weather events, putting Australian lives, our economy and our environment at risk.

The Climate Council’s new report, ‘Dangerous Summer: Escalating Bushfire, Heat and Drought Risk‘, has found this summer is shaping up as a terrible trifecta of heatwaves, drought and bushfires, made worse by climate change.

Key Findings:

1. Australia is being battered by extreme weather events, made worse by climate change. The summer of 2019/20 is shaping up as another terrible trifecta of heatwaves, droughts and bushfires.

  • The projections for the summer of 2019/20 are extremely concerning. The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting above-average maximum temperatures for most of Australia with eastern Australia – already plagued by drought – likely to be drier than average.
  • The 2019/20 bushfire season in New South Wales and southeast Queensland began in winter. Already six lives have been lost and more than 600 homes destroyed in New South Wales, mostly in remote and rural areas and small towns. It is now only the beginning of summer, which means the hottest weather and greatest danger period may still be to come.
  • The bushfires have been costly for farmers. In Cobraball, Queensland, for example, an estimated 12,000 hectares of farmland have been destroyed, including 230 hectares of high-value horticultural crops, with an estimated $20 million damage bill for farms in the region.
  • Wildlife has also been badly affected by the ongoing bushfires, with reports of at least 1,000 koala deaths in important habitats in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia and the habitats of some of the most ancient and globally iconic songbirds have either been burnt or are under threat.

2. Climate change is making many extreme weather events in Australia worse.

  • Climate change is now making hot days hotter, and heatwaves longer and more frequent. This has implications for bushfire weather, with fire seasons starting earlier and lasting longer.
  • Long-term heating and the reduction in cool season rainfall in mainland southern Australia are exacerbating drought conditions.
  • The period from January 2017 to October 2019 has been the driest on record for the Murray- Darling Basin as a whole. Over the same period of time, new long-term records for low soil moisture have been set, with ten of the Basin’s 26 river catchments recording the lowest soil moisture levels on record
An inforgraphic explaining the 2018/19 angry summer in Australia.

3. Worsening extreme events, such as heatwaves, drought and bushfires, are affecting the health and well-being of Australians and important sectors such as farming.

  • The number of heatwave days each year has been increasing in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Hobart, and across Australia as a whole since 1950. Heatwaves can have severe effects on human health, including both direct heat illnesses (e.g. heat exhaustion) and indirect impacts (e.g. cardiovascular failure).
  • The heatwave that occurred during the summer of 2009 is estimated to have resulted in as many as 500 excess deaths in Melbourne and Adelaide (374 deaths in Melbourne and 50-150 deaths in Adelaide).
  • The current prolonged drought across eastern Australia is threatening crops for the third year in a row, and national summer crop production is forecast to fall by 20 percent to 2.1 million tonnes in 2019/20.
  • Bushfires also cause serious health impacts, including direct loss of life, physical injuries and mental health issues. Large populations are also at risk from the health impacts of bushfire smoke, which contains respiratory irritants and cancer-causing substances.

4. The catastrophic events that are unfolding in Australia are not “normal”. Now is the time to act decisively and swiftly.

  • A long-term heating trend from the burning of coal, oil and gas is supercharging extreme weather events, putting Australian lives, our economy and our environment at risk. Australia is one of the most vulnerable developed countries to climate change.
  • If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, the unusually hot weather currently experienced will become commonplace, occurring every summer across the country. Sydney and Melbourne could experience unprecedented 50°C summer days by the end of the century.
  • Australian states, territories, towns and cities are leading the way on climate action. This leadership is hugely important because the Federal Government has no credible pathway for reducing emissions.
  • Australia must contribute to the global effort to deeply and rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we must prepare our fire and emergency services and communities for worsening extreme weather events.

Now, back to house prices.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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Comments

    • Forrest GumpMEMBER

      True,
      Wait till the insurance companies refuse to insure homes due to bush fire risk or sea level rise risk (expensive homes along rivers and beach front areas). No insurance, NO-LOAN!

      Then, and only then will LNP take notice coz it wil be impacting their core wealthy followers.

      • It is all good. Townsville received more than average annual rainfall in 10 days. No more droughts for foreseeable future then. You just need to figure out a way to make water flow upstream.

  1. 1. We’re all going to die
    2. Therefore, give us more funding immediately so we can continue to fight the good fight
    3. High immigration is good for climate change
    4. Umm …
    5. That’s it

  2. bolstroodMEMBER

    I no longer have any faith that our Federal and State governments will act to curtail CO2 emissions.
    They are so thourougly enmeshed with the Mining Corporations they no longer represent the Electorate.
    https://fossilfool.com.au/michael-west-reveals-coal-connections-within-the-office-of-the-prime-minister/
    Our people , infrastructure, towns, cities and environment will be allowed to degrade with no effort made to reduce emissions.
    We have a quasi religious Death Cult masquerading as a government.

    • +1

      Labor have spent the last couple of weeks whining ever more loudly about the Greens opposing the CPRS a decade ago, as some kind of weird justification as to why they’re not trying to do anything today.

  3. SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

    the smoke is so bad in Sydney its sickening, I wouldn’t be surprised if more then half of the eastern suburbs residents like Lucy Terdball have left early for the states this year

    • HadronCollision

      Well thank fk it’s finally reached Sydney
      ion the Northern Rivers we’ve had endless weeks of this pollution
      Noting the Health Report’s reporting of new research out of the USA in last night’s episode with respect to 1 microgram/cum of pollution about the WHO 25 ugm limit = 5000 extra hospital encounters

      • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

        well its been bad for weeks here too but the last week, and in particular the last 2 days has been so bad you cannot walk outside for long and some of my employees are refusing to work

  4. NSW and QLD have been burning for 6 months and it looks like they’ll be burning for 6 more. Meanwhile it’s winter in Melbourne and it’s snowing on Mt.Hotham. But its all natural variability.
    ScoMo says that Australia can’t do anything about climate change, but I do know that if you could negatively gear investments in reducing Climate Change, every second Silent Australian would be falling over to borrow to invest.

  5. SoMPLSBoyMEMBER

    “The world’s oceans, especially in the southern hemisphere, are taking up more than 90 per cent of the extra energy stored by the planet as a result of enhanced greenhouse gas concentrations.” *
    Yep!
    Can’t really notice a *BIG* change on land based temperatures (yet) so go with ” nothin’s happening” and maintain BAU.

    What’s coming at us should not be a surprise but many will be surprised.
    *https://www.csiro.au/en/Showcase/state-of-the-climate

    • What’s coming at us should not be a surprise but many will be surprised.

      I am waiting to see when the “why didn’t anyone warn us” messaging starts.

    • Byron Bay has been covered in Cornflake algae for weeks. Locals can’t remember it lasting for so long.

      That’s not normal and it won’t help tourism.

  6. SupernovaMEMBER

    Not every area experiencing heat wave conditions e.g. the Southern Highlands yesterday was a wintery 14/15 C. A few winters ago Goulburn experienced it’s lowest temperature on record at -10C. Important to accept many Australian climate records only began very recently in the 1950’s so when the Murray R stopped flowing completely dried in 1915 this extreme event would no be included in our recent records.

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