Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

We can no longer tolerate climate change denial

In February last year CSIRO announced massive funding cuts to its climate change research division, only to partially overturn the decision in the face of sustained national and international criticism. This year the government ended all funding for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

As with America’s, Australia’s ongoing failure to deal with climate change carries practical and moral consequence. We cannot significantly cut our greenhouse gas emissions without determined national effort and we cannot engage our diplomatic expertise and might to contribute more to an international solution until we cut our emissions.

We cannot any longer afford to tolerate the scientific myopia exemplified by Mr Trump and Mr Abbott.

 http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/we-can-no-longer-tolerate-climate-change-denial-20170829-gy6he6.html   EDITORIAL AUGUST 30 2017 The United States Weather Service, normally not an agency prone to colourful language, issued an extraordinary statement on Sunday regarding hurricane Harvey, saying, “This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown beyond anything experienced”. It is now predicted the storm could eventually drop over 150 centimetres of rain in some areas, more than any other in the region’s history.

Far from over, it is already clear that Harvey’s impact is catastrophic. Six people are confirmed dead and that number is expected to increase. Cost estimates range up to $US100 billion.

Meanwhile flooding in Bangladesh, India and Nepal during the region’s worst monsoon season in a decade has killed an estimated 1200 people.

Climate scientists are reluctant to attribute any particular weather event to global warming, though in this case the signs are that human behaviour contributed to the formation and severity of the storm and its impact.

As tropical storm Harvey moved towards the Texas coast last week, few models predicted it would intensify into such a damaging weather system. It then hit an ocean patch in the Gulf of Mexico that remained so hot over the northern winter that it broke temperature records on one in four days according to Houston meteorologist Matt Lanza. On the day Harvey hit, the area was around 2.2 degrees hotter than normal. Fuelled by the aberrant water temperature Harvey grew rapidly into a category-four cyclone as it hit the coast. It is now trapped in place over Houston, constantly siphoning energy and moisture from an ocean that scientists agree is likely to have been warmed by climate change.

The flooding across America’s fourth-largest city was predicted last year in a joint investigation by the Texas Tribune and the non-profit investigative journalism organisation ProPublica.

“As millions have flocked to the metropolitan area in recent decades, local officials have largely rejected stricter building regulations, allowing developers to pave over acres of prairie land that once absorbed large amounts of rainwater. In the decade after Tropical Storm Allison [in 2001], about 167,000 acres were developed in Harris County, home to Houston,” ProPublica wrote last week when it revisited its earlier investigation.

America’s efforts to combat climate change and set policy to live with its impact have been battered by President Donald Trump, who formally notified the United Nations of his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement earlier this month.

Last month Mr Trump rescinded Obama-era regulations that would have made urban development and infrastructure more flood resilient in future.

Mr Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency director, Scott Pruitt, has made the dismantling of his agency’s effort to combat climate change the central goal of his tenure, and in April the EPA scrapped its climate website entirely.

Australia risks following America’s lead on climate change.

Efforts to craft national energy policy that reflect the realities of climate change and rapidly advancing renewable energy technology are blocked by a hardline faction of the coalition partyroom led by former prime minister, Tony Abbott.

In February last year CSIRO announced massive funding cuts to its climate change research division, only to partially overturn the decision in the face of sustained national and international criticism. This year the government ended all funding for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

As with America’s, Australia’s ongoing failure to deal with climate change carries practical and moral consequence. We cannot significantly cut our greenhouse gas emissions without determined national effort and we cannot engage our diplomatic expertise and might to contribute more to an international solution until we cut our emissions.

We cannot any longer afford to tolerate the scientific myopia exemplified by Mr Trump and Mr Abbott.

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August 29, 2017 - Posted by | General News

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