Climate Council warns of wet future for Oz

Climate change, driven by burning fossil fuels, contributing to the Great Deluge, is consigning Australia to escalating climate disasters

Most of Australia’s East Coast from Cape York south to the Victorian border has had over a meter of rain by the end of October — with the rains still continuing. Some of these areas have had more than 2 meters, and a few more than 3 meters! Many rainfall records have been smashed in all of the eastern states: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania; leading to almost constant flooding through the whole area that is continuing today. The latest reports from the BOM tell us the rains will continue into summer.

This is clearly a function of global warming. Physical laws dictate that as air temperatures rise, the air can carry more water vapor before it begins to condense as rain. Higher temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water from soils and standing water – encouraging drought. Seemingly contradictory warmer air can precipitate more water in areas where it is raining. As the water condenses out as rain it also releases its ‘heat of fusion’ — and more heat is available to drive more extreme winds able to carry rain to high elevations before the rain freezes to fall back to Earth in devastating hail storms. Over larger areas there is also more energy available to fuel increasingly powerful cyclones.

Increased water means increased plant growth, increased temperature increases the rate at which soils and vegetation dry out — ensuring ever more catastrophic wildfires.

Ever more floods, fires and tempests cause increasing damage to infrastructure and people’s livelihoods and property until the catastrophes follow one another so closely that there are simply not physical or human resources left to repair the damage from one catastrophe before the next catastrophe causes even more damage. If the warming is not stopped this progression leads inevitably leads to social collapse (as we are already seeing in parts of the world), agricultural collapse (and famines as we are already beginning to see in Africa and the Middle East), ecological collapse (as we are already seeing in marine habitats with coral reef communities, kelp beds, sea grass meadows), and finally, population collapses when the land has literally been swept bare (areas in Africa are already on the edge of the cliff).

With the collapse of society, humans will quickly lose the scientific and engineering capabilities to fight further climate change already dialed into the system, such that there will be little hope of avoiding near-term global mass extinction. Continuing ‘business as usual’ support of the fossil fuel industry more-or-less ensures this grim outcome.

The Climate Council’s report, presented below, presents the facts and explains what they mean here in Australia, and some of the things we can to moderate and mitigate the expected damages. This is a good start, but I would be a silly liar if I said this was all we need to do in order to keep from utterly destroying our future.

Vote Climate One will continue to do whatever we can do to encourage serious government leadership and action to fight climate change. Please do what you can to pressure your representatives to counteract the self-serving special interests who consume our resources and return little or nothing from the super-profits they take overseas.

If we can help get climate savvy governments on the problems that really matter, they may be able to mobilize enough action so we can survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in….

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish

Featured Image: Rainfall and Flooding 2022 – Queensland to Tasmania. Current year data from 1 January to 2 November, sourced from Bureau of Meteorology, 2022. Graphic from Chapter 2, The Great Deluge: Climate Extremes in Action, in the featured article.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

What will it cost the world to achieve net zero by 2050?

Following on from Estimating the social cost of [uncontrolled] greenhouse gas pollution, what is the likely cost to shut down the emissions?

by David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon 14/02/2022 in Marketplace
What would it take to reach net-zero global emissions by 2050?:

More than 70 countries have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by mid-century. And in order to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects the world would need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Such a transition would require colossal change throughout the global economy, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, citing an average of $9.2 trillion in annual spending on physical infrastructure through 2050— $3.5 trillion more than current yearly spending.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Estimating the social cost of greenhouse gas pollution

US Federal courts consider this vexing question: how much do greenhouse gas emissions cost society and who should pay this cost?

Jim Krane & Mark Finley, 13/02/2022 in The Conversation
What is the ‘social cost of carbon’? 2 energy experts explain after court ruling blocks Biden’s changes: When an electric company runs a coal- or natural gas-fired power plant, the greenhouse gases it releases cause harm – but the company isn’t paying for the damage. Instead, the costs show up in the billions of tax dollars spent each year to deal with the effects of climate change, such as fighting wildfires and protecting communities from floods, and in rising insurance costs. This damage is what economists call a “negative externality.” It is a cost to society, including to future generations, that is not covered by the price people pay for fossil fuels and other activities that emit greenhouse gases, like agriculture.

VC1 News Editor’s comment: Australians need to think about this in the run-up to our election. The costs to human society from human triggered global warming are already reaching catastrophic levels. If we cannot stop and reverse the warming process, near-term human extinction is likely. The social cost of this would be literally infinite (any costs divided by zero humans left is infinite). In other words, if we wish for our families to survive into the future, we need to spend whatever it takes to stop the warming. This won’t be helped by a present puppet government that continually denies and downplays the reality and often works to block any effective action against the carbon emissions of its puppet masters. Use Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System to replace them with people who will put climate action at the top of their to-do list if elected.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.