Thursday, 5 February 2009

One does not know just what a disaster we are headed for without an utterly rigid zero emissions target by 2020

A very recent article in New Scientist and a 2007 article in Nature are confirmation that the rapid drying of southern Victoria cannot be related to the “Asian Haze”. Six years with a decline of 30 percent in Melbourne rainfall have already occurred, and the record forty-day dry spell from 18 December 1954 to 27 January 1955 is already sure to be broken. Most likely it will be beaten by an extraordinarily wide margin compared with what Sydney achieved between 15 July and 2 September 1995 when it beat the previous record by 38 percent. Thus, people who look for solutions in rainwater tanks will find they are as dry as the dams even could they be built so perfectly that they don’t evaporate a drop on a day of fifty degrees Celsius.

Another recent New Scientist article shows that if Australia does not cut its emissions from the highest in the world to absolutely zero within a decade, even improvements abroad or later will be useless because carbon dioxide emitted by Australia, which is still growing, stays in the atmosphere for a very long time.

The achievement of zero emissions in Australia within a reasonable time span really is very difficult, and will have to be based on immense pressure from abroad. Though I do fear personal losses therefrom, if people in the EU, Japan, Canada and New Zealand were serious about curbing global warming they would want to think about not visiting or trading with Australia – or having extraordinarily strict guidelines set for doing so, like not using cars or the electricity grid no matter how inconvenient it is.

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