Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Climate change already showing its scary face in Australia?

If you take into account the recent record fires and massive floods, and also the visit of a giant Cyclone Yasi you could pretty much say that climate change is already showing its scary face in Australia. In any case these latest events have at least spurred very lively political debate down under.

There are still many people in Australia who do not see any connection between climate change and these recent disasters. Many environmentalists believe that the main reason why many of Australian politicians are reluctant to accept the connection between climate change and these extreme weather events lies in powerful fossil fuel lobbies.

But perhaps things are changing for better in Australia because Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has recently (at least) admitted that climate change was real but still hesitated to connect climate change with these recent disasters.

Admitting the climate change isn't enough and environmentalists ask from government to price carbon emissions. The issue whether to price carbon emissions or not has stirred many political debates for almost a decade, on one hand environmentalists believe that this is the only way to tackle climate change in Australia while opposition coming from fossil fuel lobbies believe that such measure would cause higher taxes and job losses.

The recent rise of extreme weather events has been very evident in Australia. This latest cyclone is really just a continuation, and many Australians still remember the year 2006 and cyclone Larry that tore through the northern Queensland town of Innisfail, accounting for an estimated A$1.5 billion in damage to the area.

There was also the combination of drought and heatwave in February 2009 which caused the nation's deadliest fires around the southern city of Melbourne, and floods in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria have destroyed around 30,000 Australian homes.

When you look at all of these, Australia certainly has plenty of reasons to think about the possible connection between the climate change and recent extreme weather events.

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