The Age reports that: The entire state of South Australia was without power for several hours on Wednesday afternoon, with the region gripped by what could be one of the most extreme weather systems to hit in 50 years.
Reports are saying that this is a once in a 50-year event. It may not have happened for the last 50 years is going to be the new reality. Within the last month there have been landslides on the great Ocean Road and extensive flooding throughout Victoria, all with related.
This is how climate change will be manifest, in individual events of increasing severity and frequency.
And here’s the reason:
In the centuries to come, history books will likely look back on September 2016 as a major milestone for the world’s climate. At a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide is usually at its minimum, the monthly value failed to drop below 400 parts per million.
That all but ensures that 2016 will be the year that carbon dioxide officially passed the symbolic 400 ppm mark, never to return below it in our lifetimes, according to scientists.
There is course nothing magical about 400ppm, is a bit like turning 40, it has symbolic value but it’s really more important as part of the process.
The difference was growing old is that you can’t be 39 again. There are a number of things we can do about climate change.
There are three things we can do in exponentially increasing order of difficulty:
- We can slow the rate of carbon emission,
- We can stop it
- We can reverse its effects
We can stop cutting down trees and burning them, we can plant more trees (preferably much faster than we are cutting them down), we can stop burning coal and we can use more renewable energy.
We also need to minimise the influence of people like climate sceptic blatherer Tony Abbott and his principal climate change adviser, Dorothea Mackellar.
Let’s hope that the situation in South Australia produces more than the witch hunt that Nick “heads must roll” Xenophon is calling for.
The reality is that Australia’s infrastructure, roads and power lines the most recent examples, are probably not well designed to deal with the intensity of the storms that climate change is likely to produce in the next decades.
Upgrading the infrastructure is likely to be exceptionally expensive and create a massive fiscal headache for the government.
It will also be a political windfall for political opportunist such as Xenophon.