New figures released by NASA have stunned the world’s climate scientists. The average global temperature for February this year has smashed the previous record. A record set only the month before.
This comes on the back of the warmest year on record 2015, which broke the previous record set in 2014.
And if you’ve been following this story, you’ll know already there are other worrying changes – like the Arctic melting faster than all expectations over the last few years.
So are we seeing a speeding up of climate change? And is the long stretch of warm weather we’ve felt here in Sydney linked to the global picture?
The Environment Show caught up with Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, a leading climate scientist from Germany’s Potsdam University. In this podcast he answers those questions and outlines how his own country is getting on with the job of implementing one of the most important solutions – renewable energy.
This dramatic video shows the beginnings of Queensland’s “inland tsunami”. This body of water, along with other tributaries, flowed into the Lockyer Valley and killed 14 people last week. From there it went on to inundate Brisbane, the city I grew up in. The worst floods there since 1974.
When I was a kid, they told us the ’74 flood was a once in 100 year event. That was 37 years ago.
Did climate change cause the recent floods here in Australia?
Earth Hour is on again – tonight 28th March at 8.30pm. The event asks people and businesses to turn off lights and appliances for one hour. It ran for the first time in Sydney only a few years ago. Since then the idea has been picked up by many other major cities around the world.
But looking beyond all the hype, how useful is it really in helping to tackle the problem of climate change?
Just at the time Australia is launching into an emissions trading scheme, the EU one appears to be faltering. Eek. In this post we’ve collected links to articles and videos on the European scheme and the political stoush that’s happening here in Oz. (We predict it’s only a matter of time before the Opposition here cotton on to the European failings.) And of course there’s the question of – what the hell is an emssions trading scheme anyway? Plenty of people wouldn’t have the foggiest. We explain here at the end. Click on.
The last few days has seen some of the worst fires in Australia’s recorded history. That’s in the South East of the country. Meanwhile in the north we’ve had extensive flooding. Not so well covered in the Australian media has been the snow storms enveloping the Northern hemisphere in places like the UK.
So is climate change the cause of these extreme weather events?
Late last year the Australian government gave the go-ahead to building what will be one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest pulp mills. The Gunns Pulp Miill is planned for the state of Tasmania, the scene of many epic environmental battles due to its pristine nature. Prior to the recent election, both major parties in Australia supported the mill.
The previous Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, emphasized his decision to approve the mill was based on science. What the minister didn’t emphasize was the limited terms of reference of the review by the Commonwealth’s Chief Scientist.
His review concentrated on threatened and migratory animal species and the effect on marine environment. According to critics such as The Wilderness Society, important issues remain untested. These include the impact of the mill on Tasmania’s wild forests (the source of timber for the mill), emissions from the plant and the impact of the mill on local business. And many still have doubts about the mill’s effect on the marine environment
Following is a link to the video ‘Pulp Friction’ which was posted on YouTube. It attempts to address both sides of the argument.
And this is a link to The Wilderness Society video on Gunns, also on YouTube:
All of which begs the question, what will the new environment minister do? (For our international readers, that’s the bald bloke who formerly fronted the band Midnight Oil.) Peter Garrett ‘played the game’ during the recent federal election in order to win power, but now he’s there what will he do with it? The Gunns story has gone quiet now the election is over, but for how long?