31 July 2023

Climate emergency: No time to relax as black summers set to return

| Ian Bushnell
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NASA satellite image of bushfires

The South Coast ablaze: A satellite image of the 2019-2020 bushfires along the NSW Shoalhaven, Illawarra, Sydney, Blue Mountains, and Central Coast regions. Photo: NASA.

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.

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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.

bushfire smoke engulfing Canberra

Canberra just a few years ago: the Carillon and a falling lake shrouded by bushfire smoke in 2020. Photo: Region.

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.

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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.

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HiddenDragon7:33 pm 31 Jul 23

Looking forward to the RiotAct articles which explain why blackouts are a small and necessary price to pay as we charge headlong to close “dirty old” coal-fired power stations without having anything like the reliable power to replace them (because gas is evil and “nukular” is demonically evil) and the options for storing renewable power at scale are still very inadequate and very expensive.

China, as noted above, has accepted this reality and is not abandoning old technology before, as the cliche goes, the new technology is fit for purpose. Other countries are now confronting similar choices as climate rhetoric meets power generation reality.

Also looking forward – and this will be the really entertaining bit – to the RiotAct articles which face up to the fact that “renewable energy superpower” is just a three word slogan designed to distract unquestioning dimwits from the fact that we have no real clue as to how we replace the crucial export earnings and government revenues which Australia gains from exports such as coal and gas.

How we pay for all the things which middle Australia, including the vast majority of Canberrans, take completely for granted when those earnings are gone (and the several other countries aiming to be “renewable energy superpowers” turn out to be much better at it than us) will be a worthy subject for RiotAct think pieces.

Finally, some stirring words from the RiotAct on the massive disconnect between the ACT Labor-Green government’s constant fretting and droning on about climate change and its “she’ll be right” (on steroids) approach to fire fuel load management on public and private land, along with its chronic mismanagement of emergency services, would be very much in keeping with the theme of this article.

Thanks for reporting the Climate Crisis in the Riot Act, great to see regular people getting this news.

Yes it’s unbelievable that we are still opening new coal and gas projects. We can’t put out the fire while you are still pouring fuel on it.

I like this quote “The planet is like a patient who has received a terminal diagnosis but refuses to admit it, scientists say.” Yes sorry it would be nice, but ignoring it will not make it go away.

We know what to do we just need to take our foot off the brakes.

We need an army of people building and installing renewable energy, building flood channels, levies and sea walls. Massive increase in Fire and SES – regular people trained in search and rescue, fix up houses that cope better with heat and use less electricity and on and on.
It is too late just to stop using fossil fuels we need to adapt as well, Climate Change is here with a vengeance

We have plenty of technology just listen the the scientists and engineers.

And to pay for it – use the budget surplus, cancel the tax cuts for the rich, and cancel the nuclear Submarine order (send diplomats to China instead of threatening them with bombs)

You need to take a step back and have a drink of water, sorry but this continue crap on renewables now now now , we are just not there yet

Crikey! A few climate change deniers in the comments!

Barmaleo Barmaley2:34 pm 31 Jul 23

If the Canberra climate goes from bad to worse, why the ACT government does carry out the policies to inflate the city population? What are their plans in part of water supply to the ACT when another long-lasting draught happens?

There are more relevant issues. “The great laksa debate: where is Canberra’s best bowl of spicy noodle soup?”

LOL 🤣 That’s a good question. I haven’t had a decent Laksa in Canberra since 2007.

The 2022 UK Energy Security Strategy details their plan to increase power generated by nuclear from 15% to 25% of total electricity by 2050. This will include up to 8 new large reactors and many small modular reactors.

CaptainSpiff9:36 am 31 Jul 23

Hysteria turned up to 10. One should be saving all these articles for future amusement.

You seriously can’t be serious can you?
It’s as plain as the nose on your face

CaptainSpiff10:30 pm 31 Jul 23

Quite entertaining actually. Climate hysterics are everywhere. Just the other day the UN Sec General pronounced that we are in an era of “global boiling”! Ian Bushnell echoes him here to claim the northern hemisphere is boiling… LOL.

What about preparation to fight bush fires? We need investments in water bombing aircraft and training firefighters.

you will trust and believe the political science say the journalists pushing their Marxist agenda onto you

Stephen Saunders8:27 am 31 Jul 23

And what is United Nations Albanese doing to address the “climate emergency”? An Adelaide’s worth of migrants in five years, fake “safeguards” and emission reductions, green-fields development to the last koala, logging and land clearing, native-species crashes, profligate irrigation and water policies.

It’s purely Business As Usual, but it’s good enough to get him a guernsey at the German Climate Club.


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