Friday, January 30, 2009

For those who mock global warming

By pointing to the US's severe winter storm, here's what's happening in Australia:

South-eastern Australia is experiencing its worst heatwave in decades, with temperatures in excess of 43C (109F).

Health officials in South Australia say the searing heat may be to blame for an apparent increase in the number of sudden deaths among the elderly.

In neighbouring Victoria state, bush fires have destroyed at least 10 homes.

Nearly 500,000 people in the state are reported to have lost their power supplies, following severe pressure on the electricity grid.

An explosion was also reported at a substation in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city.

"It is an extreme week. The system is not made to operate where you've got temperatures in the suburbs of 46C," said the head of Victoria state, John Brumby.

Commuters are facing long delays after the blackouts added to the problems on the rail network. Hundreds of train services were cancelled after the heat buckled tracks.

The phrase global warming is unfortunate as it should really be called climate change. The weather will become more extreme at both ends of the gauge, extreme heat, extreme cold. There will be more droughts, floods, fires. Meanwhile, glaciers are losing their ice and the poles are melting, the oceans are acidifying, creatures are going extinct.



Even if we negated our carbon footprints right now, this shift in climate will still continue for decades. We can thank the Bush administration for eight more years of delay in addressing this.
George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan.

The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

Mr Bush, whose second and final term as President ends at the end of the year, then left the meeting at the Windsor Hotel in Hokkaido where the leaders of the world's richest nations had been discussing new targets to cut carbon emissions.

One official who witnessed the extraordinary scene said afterwards: "Everyone was very surprised that he was making a joke about America's record on pollution."

But maybe we can hope:
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore urged President Barack Obama and other world leaders to seal a quick deal to fight global warming despite the pervasive financial crisis.

Gore called Obama "the greenest person in the room" for making environmental funding a big chunk of the $819 billion economic stimulus bill passed by U.S. lawmakers this week.

"I think it's important for the world leaders gathered here to fully appreciate the magnitude of the change in U.S. leadership," Gore said.

The former U.S. vice president and environmental advocate, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, referred to frustration in many countries at the Bush administration's refusal to sign international pacts on reducing emissions of carbon, blamed for global warming.


Bryan said...

As I wrote not long ago, things are seriously screwed up when it is 10 degrees warmer in Fairbanks, Alaska than the Florida Gulf Coast on a day in January.

Tracking my local weather, all of the records, for highs and lows this winter, have been since 2000.

We are cooler and wetter than normal for the last three years. We didn't reach 100° once during the entire summer, and that hasn't happened in the 50 years my family has been living here [with occasional breaks].

ellroon said...

And California is into a drought, we haven't had enough rain for three years, our mountains are burning up, and more people are moving here imbued with the sense that letting the hose water run down the gutter or having eight babies at once is a god-given right....