Handling the Heat

Handling the Heat: Research for adaptation in Central Coast and Hunter

The NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility) held a 1 day seminar on 23 Nov 2011 at Newcastle Uni, Callaghan Campus. The aim was to discuss the ways in which the Central Coast and the Hunter Regions can adapt to the impacts of Climate Change.

Local impacts are becoming better defined. For example, the report last July from NSW Govt:- NSW Climate Impact Profile details impacts by region around NSW. One disturbing outcome for the Central Coast area is an increase in runoff depths of up to 28% (34% in Sydney). This results from an expected increase in summer rainfall although winter/spring rain will reduce.

Essentially this means more big storms with heavy rain and flooding in the summer but dryer springs when the farmers are trying to sow their crops.

Other predictions include increased evaporation and higher temperatures (of course) and more extensive and hotter bushfires.

We all know that its getting hotter. Over recent years we have seen increasing natural disasters with horific floods, intense droughts/heat waves and larger/stronger storm events including cyclones.

So, what can we do to prepare ourselves for this future?

We must remain aware of the unfolding science regarding the impacts. We must monitor our politicians efforts to reduce GHG pollution. And we must plan for the worst. I say the worst because every time the IPCC issue a new report, they up the anti. Each successive scientific paper unfolds for us that the situation is worse than it was before.

With the Federal Government’s carbon price to be set in place this June, the focus appears to be moving towards the international stage and away from what Australia is doing (or not doing) to reduce emissions. But the targets set so far are not sufficient to remove Australia from the top of the list of emitters (per head). We will have to do more.

We will also have to focus on what pressure we can bring to other countries to reduce their emissions. USA, China and the emerging giants of India, Brazil, etc. have to do a lot more. So far the world is heading for disaster – a slow decent into climate chaos. We must find it in our hearts in this decade, to significantly wind back our fossil fuel dependance, world wide.

We cannot do this without focusing on the businesses that are supporting this. We hear today about Gina Reinhart buying a 14% share in Fairfax, the media company that stands in oposition to the Murdock press in Australia. Those who think she will not influence the choice of editors, or the political flavour of the Fairfax papers are deluding themselves.

We cannot back off now. This decade is the critical moment in history for keeping our planets climate in a reasonable balance. We must do this for our children, grandchildren and all the other species on this planet.

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