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Global Warming in Australia

This week has seen plenty of people claiming the sky is falling because of global warming here in Australia.  Nearly every day the Age newspaper has an article on global warming and this week’s theme has been how the Great Barrier Reef is going to disappear from global warming.  Also the drought inflicting the nation is also being blamed on global warming.  I wonder if the Age will blame the riot in Melbourne on global warming?  I mean maybe it was just so hot outside that they were compelled to trash the Blockbuster video store?

What bothers me about all the scare mongering over global warming is that things that are happening contrary to the global warming paradigm are not discussed, like how southeast Australia may be in a drought but central Australia is receiving record rain falls:

While parts of the drought-ravaged east coast burn, an unlikely part of the continent is being deluged.  Usually bone-dry, central Australia is experiencing an unprecedented downpour of rain, with roads and infrastructure being shut down due to flooding.  The Todd River, which normally is a trickle at best, has become a raging torrent. 

Alice Springs residents were caught off guard by the flood due to a technical malfunction with water level sensors in the catchment area.  Trevor Packham from the Alice Springs Town Council says to receive so much rain in such a dry part of Australia is surreal, especially when compared to the severe water shortages being experienced elsewhere in the country.

"You can go one to two years without any rain and you don’t see the river flow but [at] this time of the year, to dump this much [rain] in one hit is a little bit out of the ordinary," he said.

"I was in Adelaide not long ago and it’s so dry down there, there are water restrictions.

"As you come into central Australia though, it’s just lush green grass, there’s water everywhere, the [Todd] river is flowing and… it’s not a small flow, it’s quite a moderate flow and it could get even higher."

Here is a picture of the Todd River running through Alice Springs:

This river is usually dry or at the most a trickle. Now it is a raging river.  Here is a picture of the Stuart Highway which runs between Adelaide and Alice Springs:

The news of the rain in Central Australia makes little news yet reports of things that might happen to Australia 65 years from now that cannot be proven is front page headline news.  These headlines in the Australian media have been so prevalent that even the US media is picking up on it now:

Average temperatures in Sydney will rise by about 9 degrees during the next 65 years, with devastating consequences including 1,300 more heat-related deaths per year, according to a government study released Wednesday.

With Australia gripped by its worst drought on record, the issue of climate change has emerged as a battleground in this year’s national elections.

Prime Minister John Howard has come under renewed criticism for not ratifying the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, making Australia the only major industrial nation other than the U.S. to reject the treaty that mandates lower emissions of global-warming greenhouse gases.

Howard did not comment on the study, which was commissioned by New South Wales, the state that includes Sydney, Australia’s largest city.

But New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma called the report "frightening reading" and said the federal government "can no longer put its head in the sand on this issue."

Iemma is a member of the Labor Party, which is hoping to oust Howard’s conservative coalition in elections later this year.

This Associate Press article actually hints at what is really going on with global warming, politics.  This is how the global warming industry works in the states and I suspect it is probably similar in Australia.  Global warming has always been a safe political position because when people make predictions about things happening 65 years from now a politician can’t be held politically responsible if it doesn’t happen.  Will you ever see a politician take a position on something climate change related that a scientists says will happen in a year or two?  No it is always a decade or more to where they can’t be held politically responsible when it doesn’t happen.  Then those politicians who takes this position ensure that those scientists making the predictions that they stake political positions on keep receiving government funding.  It is a self serving cycle. 

Thus the media which is a liberal profession naturally takes up the global warming cause because pro-business conservatives in the government are against it.  That is how things that are going to happen 65 years from now that can’t be proven are front page news while record amounts of rain fall causing the greening of the Red Center are barely mentioned. 

Being an American, I always like to think back to if the Anasazi Indians were concerned about global warming?  Roughly a thousand years ago this civilization of western United States Indians was wiped out due to climate change that caused rivers to dry up and crops to fail.  This caused them to have to migrate from their native lands which put them in conflict with neighboring nomadic Indian civilizations which ultimately enslaved and absorbed the Anasazi thus wiping out their culture from record.  Three centuries before the fall of the Anasazi, the Teotihucan civilization in Mexico was destroyed as well through civil unrest caused by climate change.  The people revolted against the priests that sacrificed humans to appease the gods in order to make it rain.  As the drought worsened the priests decided more people needed to be sacrificed.  However, as more people were sacrificed and more people starved from the drought the people revolted against the priests that were unable to appease the gods.  The Anasazi and the Teotihucan people didn’t blame global warming for their demise, they blamed the gods for forsaking them.  Today it appears instead of blaming the gods, people blame something nearly as intangible global warming. 

Global climate change has occurred throughout the Earth’s history.  Byzantine historians recorded climate change way back in 535 AD and even more recently American historians recorded global climate change that cooled the world to the point that historians have called 1816 the Year Without A Summer.  Then you can look back at ancient times and ask was multi-national corporations and SUVs responsible for the Ice Age and prior melting of the ice caps?  If you ever go to Kakadu National Park the flat wetlands of Kakadu that are abruptly met by the hills of the Arnhem Land Escarpment used to be under the ocean from when the ice caps last melted.  The Arnhem Land escarpment was where the waves hit the shore of Australia. 

It is very clear global climate change that has wiped out entire civilizations has occurred throughout the Earth’s history even when there was no multi-national corporations or SUVs to blame.  Instead of blaming the gods our political leaders should be developing policies to cope with climate change that as history has shown will happen at some point, with or without multi-national corporations or SUVs.  This lack of developing policies to deal with climate change is what has caused Australia to be in the water crisis it is in now.  Has anyone done any studies on if the drought in the southeast has anything to do with all the trees that have been chopped down in the last 200 years here?  Why hasn’t anyone built pipe lines to bring water from areas of Australia with abundant amounts of water to help areas that are prone to drought from time to time? 

The best example of this pipe line concept I saw was in West Australia.  In West Australia roughly a 1000 mile pipe line was built from Perth where there is plenty of water out to Kalgoorie where there is no water.  Kalgoorie is located in the distant Outback and water was needed to support the gold rush there and the pipe line worked.  Instead of coming up with solutions people blame the gods and say if only America and Australia would sign off on the Kyoto protocol and we all drove hybrids the clouds would suddenly roll in over Melbourne and unleash a deluge of rain that will save us all.  Is this mentality any different from the Meso-Americans making offerings to the gods in hope of rain? If the Meso-Americans had instead of making sacrifices to the gods made a comprehensive plan to better manage the water resources they had maybe they would still be around to this day. 

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