Climate change, also called global warming because the planet is warming, is real and is happening now. Climate science is making a careful study of our changing climate and is explaining why. We can also see for ourselves the impacts of a warming world whenever a weather record is broken – for example the current (mid-2016) run of monthly record high temperatures. August 2016 was the hottest August on record, and was 0.98?C above the long-term average August temperature from 1951-1980. This keeps 2016 on track to be the hottest year on record globally.
Meanwhile extreme floods have devastated communities in places as far apart as Louisiana and central western NSW, which received record-breaking September rainfall.
Many people know about climate science, understand and accept its basic conclusion that burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, and destroying forests, is releasing vast quantities of carbon and other greenhouse gasses into the troposphere, thickening the layer that traps heat, so more heat is trapped. Unfortunately, there are some people who ‘have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear’, misled by dishonest campaigns funded by those same industries that are causing the problem!
Climate change is already impacting us here:
- Bleaching coral off the Solitary Islands, and mass coral bleaching ravaging the Great Barrier Reef (only 7% of the Reef escaped any damage in early 2016).
- Heatwaves which make it hard for children to concentrate or play sport at school, and are potentially deadly for the elderly and vulnerable.
- More intense bushfires and a longer fire season.
- More intense storms and high rainfall risking flash flooding and damage to houses, towns and crops.
- At other times, more intense droughts and less reliable rainfall impacting agriculture and our food security.
- Slowly rising sea levels threaten our coastlines, infrastructure, economy and our way of life.
These impacts are guaranteed to get worse if we fail to act and act fast. The science is clear – we are in a climate emergency. We must cut carbon pollution to net zero before 2032 for a 66% chance of keeping global warming to 2°C (the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement which our government signed).