Gravely affecting safety and lives, the 2019 wildfires in California, Amazon Rainforest and Australia were extreme and devastating. The east coast of Australia continue to burn until today and this is the kind of terrifying catastrophe revealed in a 2008 report commissioned by the Australian government which predicted that global warming would cause the nation’s fire seasons to begin earlier, end later, and be more intense — starting around 2020.
Come hell or high water, the Australia experience suggests that climate denial will persist through fires that have burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares (46 million acres; 186,000 square kilometres; 72,000 square miles), destroyed over 5,900 buildings (including approximately 2,683 homes), killed at least 30 people plus an estimated one billion animals and some endangered species.
Paul Krugman, opinion columnist of the New York Times’ article – Australia Shows Us the Road to Hell – commented on the political reactions that are more terrifying than the fires themselves. He noted that the same deepening irrational partisan division that exist in Australia also exits in other countries such as USA where anti-environmentalist governments seem unmoved as the nightmares of environmentalists become reality. And the anti-environmentalist media, the Murdoch empire in particular, has gone all-out on disinformation, trying to place the blame on arsonists and “greenies” who won’t let fire services get rid of enough trees. Climate optimists have always hoped for a broad consensus in favor of measures to save the planet. The trouble with getting action on climate, the story went, was that it was hard to get people’s attention. The issue was complex, while the damage was too gradual and too invisible. In addition, the big dangers lay too far in the future. But surely once enough people had been informed about the dangers, once the evidence for global warming became sufficiently overwhelming, climate action would cease to be a partisan issue.
“The Australian fires have highlighted the inadequacies of the systems – political, but also in terms of immediate disaster response. Tourism is badly affected”, commented Dr. Susanne Becken.
The urgency for climate action is rising and we have all heard and seen the bad news. In Oct. 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report projected that we will reach 1.5°C (34.7°F) above pre-industrial level by 2030. But our chances are lower today since people, companies and countries did not do enough to lessen their carbon emissions.
Today, the IPCC tells us that we have only 8 years of current emissions remaining in our carbon budget before we reach 1.5°C (34.7°F) by 2028, or less if we don’t lower our emissions to zero or if events occur to amplify warming. We are warned that just half a degree beyond this and we will severely destabilise our climate and worsen the climate extremes we are already experiencing today. At the global pace of inaction, we will reach 2°C (35.6°F) danger zone within our lifetime.
It is terrifying and irrational when countries in flames isn’t enough to produce a global consensus for action.
This is when we as individuals with a wallet and a vote must stand up and loudly voice our demand for action with full accountability and transparency, a transition to 100% renewable energy and a reduction of carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.
Are you demanding urgent climate action with accountability and transparency from your government and the companies you support NOW? If not NOW, when?
Track the climate action of your country https://climateactiontracker.org/
If not now, when?