According to a new study by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, the worst drought ever seen in south east Australia is a direct consequence of global warming.
In recent years politicians have tried to argue that the current drought and global warming are unrelated coincidences. This excuse for inaction on global warming has now been totally demolished.
The drought, which began in 1996, is by far the longest on record. Previous to this, the dry years had been interrupted with years where rainfall was much higher than average.
This trend has ceased and now the driest years are followed by years that bring less than average rainfall. This year brings another cycle of the ‘El Niño’ weather system. El Niño refers to the warming of the ocean that leads to shifts in weather patterns across the Pacific. This year El Niño is predicted to become the second strongest on record.
Scientists using sophisticated computer models have found that the rising global temperatures have resulted in the strengthening of a high pressure weather system, called the ‘Subtropical ridge’, in the south of Australia.
This high pressure system is in turn responsible for holding back rain storms moving north from the Southern ocean. One of the scientists conducting the study says that 80% of rain loss in south-east Australia has been caused by the strengthening of this ridge.
It is clear that if global warming continues unabated south east Australia faces the possibility of becoming an uninhabitable desert. This is only one outcome on the long list of disasters that could be caused by global warming.
Despite the fact that global warming is already starting to bite, Labor has only set a target of a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. This is totally inadequate when most scientists claim we need a 60-80% cut in emissions within the next ten years!
Kevin Rudd’s market based ‘solutions’ to climate change shift the cost of global warming onto ordinary people, instead of the big business polluters. What we need are socialist solutions to the problem that include public ownership, planning and democratic control. Only then would we be able to reduce emissions sufficiently.
The alternative is to leave it up to Labor and the capitalists who will turn south east Australia into a wasteland.
By Kirk Leonard