After three years of pleasant, albeit a tad damp, La Nina summers, is Canberra heading back to the long, hot summers that put the nerves on edge?
Anyone watching the news from southern Europe and North America these past few weeks will be psychologically preparing for what’s to come.
The evacuations of the Greek islands, especially Rhodes, and the images of scorched beaches stirred flashbacks from the Black Summer’s torching of the South Coast.
Before that, it was the Canadian wildfires and the pall of smoke over US cities such as New York to remind us again the calamities that were forecast so long ago now are with us.
As well, ocean temperatures are soaring, resembling spa water, ice caps are disappearing and even the vital functioning of the Gulf Stream is in doubt.
It’s not a given that this summer will be one of extreme heat and fire simply because the Northern Hemisphere is boiling but the cycle has turned and if El Nino is with us, expect climate change to supercharge it.
Yet still it’s mainly business as usual for industry, government continues to drag the chain preparing for what is coming and we are failing to adapt to the new reality.
Yes, electric vehicles are on our streets, solar panels are on our roofs and we have emission targets. So what’s to worry about?
Plenty. The planet is essentially in denial.
There just doesn’t seem to be the sense of urgency to reflect the dire state we are in.
Renewables are powering ahead but not, it seems, enough to keep the lights on, industry going and our new EVs on the road without coal and gas.
Some are still pinning their hopes on unproven tech such as carbon capture or expensive, risky nuclear power to save us.
Those small, safe modern reactors are just perfect for uranium-rich Australia, as the Opposition parrots the promotional material, desperate to not accept the truth and to find some way of countering Labor’s position.
Meanwhile, exasperated climate scientists lament the Government’s lack of ambition and its failure to put in place measures in our social infrastructure and built environment to adapt to a changed environment.
Elsewhere, key countries like China forge ahead with renewable technologies but at the same time continue to build coal-fired power stations.
The planet is like a patient who has received a terminal diagnosis but refuses to admit it, scientists say.
Where is the global Manhattan Project to heal the planet before it’s too late?
And if you do decide to take some action to try to shame the big fossil fuel companies, they are now out to crush you with legal action, fines and even imprisonment backed by government.
It’s like waking every day to star in our very own disaster movie with no happy ending in sight.
This July has been the hottest on record for the planet. Even the scientists aren’t sure just what the consequences will be.
And while here in Canberra we have had our freezing mornings, July’s maximums have been very unseasonal.
So roll on, summer, but when the mercury soars, the bush ignites and the EDs are overrun with heat and smoke victims, please don’t say it’s just Australia, a land of droughts and flooding rains etc, etc.