IT might be seen as a fortunate coincidence or, in some parts, much more sinister but a series of reports released in recent weeks tells a stunning story about changes in Australia’s climate which is helping to justify government action to move to a greener economy.
Yesterday, a report from researchers at Melbourne University showed that no other period in the last 1000 years matched the temperature rises Australia and the region has experienced in the last 50 years. Those researchers used 27 different natural indicators like tree rings and ice cores to come to their conclusion which will be a part of the next United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change report.
Last week, we saw the release of a separate report by the federal government’s Climate Commission, The Critical Decade, overseen by Tim Flannery, which predicts a rise in heatwave events and flash flooding.
Late last month, a study from a team, which includes CSIRO researchers, found that wet areas have become wetter and dry areas drier during the past 50 years due to global warming.
The mountains of reports and studies which conclude that climate change is real and must be addressed has been even more overwhelming in recent months.
The much-criticised and seemingly highly-unpopular carbon tax officially begins on July 1 and the government has been in full selling mode in recent weeks.
It plans to spend tens of millions of dollars communicating the benefits of the carbon tax to residents through a print, radio and television advertising campaign in the next two years aimed at emphasising government assistance to those who will be impacted by rising costs of living.
What is interesting about the debate is that governments across the world are attempting to move past the debate about whether or not climate change is indeed real to talk instead about how to deal with it. Yet these same governments continue to invest millions of dollars in reports which seek to justify the science and only provide more fodder for those who do not believe.
The battle to win the scientific war will go on. For the residents of now and the future, the policy response is what is really important and the Australian government has a difficult task ahead of it to convince its constituents that the carbon tax is the best step to alleviating concerns about our climatic future.