Walking down the street on a beautiful sun filled spring morning it's easy to simply enjoy the moderate temperatures loved by Sydneysiders this time of year and forget about the climate woes the worlds top scientists have been predicting now for years.
I walk into the supermarket, order my decaf latte and pick up the paper. It’s the Financial Review with a bold headline “IPPCC more certain about warning”
I read further to find the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report written by 831 leading scientists from 85 countries are now predicting future temperature rises of up to 6℃ and sea-level rises even higher than predicted in earlier reports. This is the fifth report written by the IPPCC containing increasingly bad news every time the government is handed one.
The naysayers on climate change, which now include members of Australia’s newly elected government including Prime Minister Tony Abbott, argue it has little to do with us mere mortals and that global temperatures have been changing from the beginning of time.
The report states clearly so everyone can understand “It is now unequivocal, earth has warmed since the start of the 20th century by 0.89 degrees” The report has also upgraded is findings from it’s previous 2001 report “that man-made activity is causing global warming” In the 2001 report our world scientists were 65% sure this was the case, today they are now 95% sure.
At the same time I am baffled by the news that Prime Minister Abbott has disband the Climate Change Commission and is now leaving the job of informing the Australian public on crucial climate change issues up to private sector, concerned scientists such as; Professor Tim Flannery, Gerry Hueston and Professor Will Steffen. The new independently formed Climate Council now has to resort to crowd funding in order to continue the much-needed work on climate change. This body is without political agenda and is there to present clear facts on climate change to the people of Australia. The Government by disbanding the Climate Change Commission before the IPPCC reports release has swiftly and unashamedly attempted to limit the dissemination of information on climate change to the Australian public.
As I ponder these issues on my way to the park, watching people walk there dogs and go about their day, seemingly unaware of the environmental global crisis humanity is now facing, my head fills with more questions than answers, questions such as: Why does our government argue, disregard and refuse to act on the findings provided by the top world scientists on climate change? Why is our Government doing everything in it power to limit access to the information provided by these scientists? And in the knowledge of the IPPCC findings what are we as a society prepared to do in order to create lasting change for our environment, while it's still possible?
It is no longer a matter of saving the animals I now truly believe it’s a matter of saving the humans.
To spell it out, if temperatures rise by 6℃ from our highest summer temperature in Sydney for 2013 being 45 ℃ our summer temperatures would rise to 51℃. If our Oceans rise by 2100 by 80cm as predicted, there will be no Bondi Beach and the Kakadu wet-lands would be destroyed. There will be no walking our dogs enjoying moderate spring temperatures or going to the beach to enjoy summer days with our families as we do today. We will continue to endure destructive, unseasonal super storms, devastating weather patterns with droughts, floods and fires and the biodiversity of our planet will continue to decrease into extinction.
It is no wonder that David Suzuki in a recent talk at UNSW suggested there should be criminal penalties imposed on leaders who have blatant disregard and refuse to act on climate change issues, as our way of life is at serious risk of collapse if nothing is done.
We will be judged by the children of the seven + billion people on the planet today and I for one would prefer our legacy to be that of positive environmental change rather than one of ignorance, complacency and destruction. If we do nothing the children of tomorrow will ask why when we had the knowledge, ability and technology at our disposal, did we sit back and do nothing in blissful ignorance, while our planet was crumbling in front of us?
I hope to soon be writing about the government turn around on environmental issues outlined in the IPPCC report, brought about by overwhelming public support for the Climate Council and the newly formed government understanding that economic sustainability can only be achieved by ensuring environmental sustainability.
Watch this space