Australia is currently experiencing extreme drought as a result of abrupt
climate change, and the nation is undergoing unprecedented discussion of global
heating reminiscent of America's own post-Katrina reckoning. Half of arable
agricultural land is becoming wasteland and farmers have received some $2
billion in drought assistance hand-outs since 2001. A report released recently
by the conservation group WWF puts Australia's consumption habits among the 10
worst in the world, with 6.6 hectares of land and water required to support each
person. Unsustainable Australian lifestyles including native forest clearing and
wasteful water use threaten their continent's fragile ecosystems, and the
drought is a precursor of Australian and global ecosystem collapse to come.
Further, Australia's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are among the highest
in the world. And Australia's economy is based heavily upon the deadly
coal fossil fuel industry which exerts undue political influence.
Temperatures in Australia are now expected to rise by as much as 8°C (15°F) in
the next century with cataclysmic results. Over the coming decades these soaring
temperatures will result in water supplies for millions failing, agriculture becoming unviable over huge areas, rising sea levels destroying substantial
coastal areas, powerful
extreme weather events including super cyclones and bushfires, and countless environmental refugees overwhelming Australia's ability to cope. Indeed this and more is happening now. While the government has within the past week announced major expenditures in
renewable energy and coal carbon sequestration, these measures are still too
little too late. The Australian government is failing to establish and implement
a rigorous climate change policy adequate to respond to the global climate
emergency. And sadly, Australia is the only industrialized nation to join the
United States in turning their back upon Kyoto.
To address their current climate caused drought emergency,
Australia simply must ratify the Kyoto Protocol immediately and engage seriously
in negotiations to further establish global mandatory emissions cuts for all
nations that are equitable and adequate to achieve what climate science
indicates is necessary to conserve the global climatic system. The best estimate
is that emissions must be cut as soon as possible by 60-75%, a level which
requires Australia forgoing the burning of their coal resources. Though clearly imperfect
and inadequate, Kyoto represents mechanisms for establishing, implementing,
monitoring and extending emission reductions globally. Difficult international
negotiations lie ahead, to achieve equitable reductions in emissions by all
countries sufficient to stabilize the global atmosphere. Australia must stop its
obstruction of international climate policies. Allowing Australia to continue jeopardizing decades of
negotiations which establish an emissions regulation framework is unacceptable.
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Australians has much to lose from abrupt, run-away climate change - including their lives from severe drought and raging bushfires
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