Australia Just Marked Its Third Hottest Year Ever, And ScoMo Is Making It Worse
It’s getting hot in here.
The records keep breaking and now almost every year makes it into the finals as one of the hottest. And your government is about to make things even worse.
Nine of Australia’s 10 hottest years on record occurred since 2005. Our climate is firmly trending on the hot or not list. The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) Annual Climate Statement confirmed 2018 as the third hottest year on record, a podium finish, with the nation’s average temperature 1.14C above the long-term average. Across the board, every state and territory recorded higher than usual temperatures.
Hotter weather, and in particular extreme heat events can have major impacts to health, infrastructure, livelihoods and our natural environment. Heatwaves have killed more Australians than all other natural disasters combined.
The Australia Institute’s Climate of the Nation 2018 survey found three in four Australians said we are already experiencing the effects of global warming, like more heatwaves and extremely hot days. Expect more to come, with places like Western Sydney projected to experience up to a fivefold increase in days over 35C over our kids' lifetimes.
More and more Australians are feeling the effects and they are worried. Even climate sceptics. The number of Australians who vote for the Nationals and do not think climate change is occurring dropped by almost half from 2017 to 2018 (from 29 percent down to 15 percent). There were also significant drops in climate scepticism from those who vote for One Nation and the Liberal Party.
It’s not a surprise when you realise climate impacts are even more pronounced in regional areas. BOM said rainfall totals in Australia last year were the lowest in 13 years and many areas experienced significantly lower average rainfalls.
Most pronounced was south-east Australia, with New South Wales experiencing its sixth-driest year on record while the Murray-Darling Basin had its seventh driest (and look at what is happening now in the Darling with the compounding mismanagement). Not to mention the back-to-back bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, a wonder of the natural world upon which tens of thousands of people’s livelihoods depend.
We can’t tackle global warming by building new coal mines and coal-fired power stations, yet that’s exactly what Prime Minister Morrison is proposing. If new projects go ahead, the Morrison government would be actively making it worse by chucking more coal on the BBQ.
While the private sector won’t touch a new coal-fired power stations with a barge pole, Prime Minister Morrison is rushing to throw taxpayers’ money at handpicked energy corporations to build or refurbish polluting gas and coal-fired power stations. This would be disastrous for the environment and a total waste of taxpayers’ money.
Australians would be left with expensive gas and coal-fired power generation that will last (and pollute for) up to 50 years.
The program, announced last month, is being rushed and the government is taking offers without even finalising the design. The PM wants it done before the election, with the cost to taxpayers or the environment remaining to be seen. Morrison has also ignored the advice of the competition regulator, the ACCC, to ban the largest energy companies from the program.
Yes, the same energy companies that the Prime Minister threatened with a ‘big stick’ after accusing them of using their market power to push up electricity prices. The same companies that 55 percent of Australian’s blame for increasing electricity prices in the first place.
This taxpayer-supported fossil fuel power is not even likely to give consumers cheaper power. In fact, new coal power is more expensive than renewables even when you add in back-up storage according to the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Regulator.
Instead of taking the policy to the election a few months away, the Prime Minister wants to leave us lumped with his farewell present: more dirty coal.
Like a modern day scorched-earth policy, instead of destroying everything on the path of your advancing opponent, you are lumping them with a legacy that pollutes for the next 50 years. Maybe a warmed-earth policy might be a better way of putting it? That’s not to mention efforts to drill oil in the Great Australian Bite, dig more coal out of Queensland and frack gas out of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
So when you hear that we have broken another heat extreme record, know that our government is doing whatever it can to make things worse.