On course to suffer global warming of four degrees
Date July 9, 2011
There is only one way to frame the weekend’s carbon tax announcement: a start. Assume Australia hits its very soft target, cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions five per cent by 2020 – and the rest of the world does everything they’ve promised – we are on course to suffer global warming of 4 degrees or more by the end of the century.
We have already warmed the planet by 1 degree, relative to pre-industrial times, and are almost certainly experiencing an associated increase in costly, extreme weather events to say the least. In Australia, while it is impossible to be definitive about the cause of any single weather event, a list of prime suspects includes last decade’s crippling drought, Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 and this year’s devastating floods.
Not scary enough for some, but as our chief climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, warned earlier this year, ”if we are seeing an intensification of weather events now, you ain’t seen nothing yet”.
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