Whilst I have known for some time how southwestern Australia and Central Chile have experienced severe declines in rainfall over the past forty-five years, an unseen revelation from scientists in California is much more conclusive proof of the impact of Australia’s dreadful (and deadly) pro-freeway transport policies. Although there does actually exist some doubt about the nature of changes in Califonia, there is no questioning in southwestern Australia and little in Chile that these changes are one hundred percent man-made.
according to Time Magazine (from a study in Geophysical Research Letters) is that the present drought in California, which has seen Los Angeles receive only 12.01 inches (305 millimetres) of rain between July 2012 and June 2014, is the worst as far back as paleoclimatic records go. The journal says that this does not only reflect the low rainfall but hot temperatures due to Australian-produced (indirectly as well as directly) greenhouse gas emissions. This is admitted even in a more recent study that suggests LA rainfall will remain the same in the future – in contrast to Santiago whose eight-year average rainfall of 224 millimetres (64 percent of the virgin mean) is the lowest on record, and more so Perth where only two wet seasons in the virgin period had less rainfall than the average since 2006.
The basic issue is that not only does Australia have the highest per capita emissions and some of the worst policies – when it has the resources and the need to have the very lowest emissions and cleanest policies were its mining lobby controllable – but that its incomparably abundant land and fossil fuels relative to population means that, as other nations improve their regulations of greenhouse pollution, there is every incentive for polluters to set up operations in Australia.
In contrast, if it was Australia that was forced to cut its greenhouse pollution back, the very source of emissions in China, India, Europe, Japan, Korea and the Americas would be literally destroyed. Without the large deposits of structural metals from the Australian Craton – or having to have these moved emissions-free as ores to nations with reliable hydropower – the industrial sector of Eurasia and the Americas would have to completely change policies. Most especially, as I have noted before, it would involve much longer-lasting products to use less cheap mineral resources from Australia. Of course this would hardly be acceptable to the fashionable sectors of Enriched World society, where as Barry Schwartz in The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less and Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter in Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture, the majority simply want to be different in a manner impossible if Australian raw material production was severely restricted. However, this severe restriction will do much more to save the Earth from catastrophe than all the regulations in Europe, East Asia, North America and the Southern Cone combined: by requiring frugality where nature demands it.