Paul Gilding: “The Great Disruption has arrived”
Darwin, Australia suffered its greatest 24-hour rainfall in its history [last] Wednesday, when a deluge of 13.4 inches (339.4 mm) hit the city when Tropical Cyclone Carlos formed virtually on top of city and remained nearly stationary. Carlos has now dissipated, and brought only an additional 1.50″ (38 mm) of rain yesterday to Darwin. Over the past four days, Carlos has dumped a remarkable 26.87″ (682.6 mm) of rain on Darwin (population 125,000), capital of Australia’s Northern Territory. Australia’s west coast is also watching Tropical Cyclone Dianne, which is expected to remain well offshore as it moves southwards, parallel to the coast.
Over 420 ml of rain in that catchment in less than 24 hours is off the charts since records began and certainly that combined with a six metre high tide, that water came up very, very quickly. So a really one in 500 year event; nobody’s experienced anything like this before.”
I asked Paul Gilding, author of the forthcoming book The Great Disruption, to comment on the implications of the off-the-charts weather Australia has been suffering though. He wrote:
Any doubt that climate change is an economic problem, not just an environmental one, was washed away with people’s lives, homes and businesses in Australia over the last few months. Floods of biblical proportions, and just weeks later, a cyclone of record intensity, saw people torn from inside their disintegrating houses as walls of water literally shattered whole communities. Also washed away was any doubt that the window for early action was now firmly closed. Now is the time to prepare for our new climate, a climate we helped to create with our massive coal exports and use. The good news is that faced with such catastrophic impacts, we will surely now wake up to the need to act urgently to stop climate chaos accelerating our of control. Humanity has shown itself to be good in a crisis, as witnessed in the mobilisation for World War II. We are more than capable or responding rapidly, we just need to decide to act. That decision is coming soon.
Gilding is former executive director of Greenpeace International. Gilding has a longer piece on his blog, “The Great Disruption has arrived,” which concludes:
More than anything else, I believe food will come to define our entry into this period. Food prices, after hovering around long-term highs for several years, are now passing the extreme peaks of 2008 as climate chaos takes hold.
Still, he remains optimistic. You’ll have to read his blog (and his book) to learn why.
- Warmest sea surface temperatures on record fuel ‘biblical’ Australian floods
- High Water: Hottest year ends with unprecedented Australian floods covering an area “the size of France and Germany combined.”
- Terrific ABC News story: “Raging Waters In Australia and Brazil Product of Global Warming”; “Scientists: Climate Change No Longer a Theory, It’s Happening”
- Deadly flash flood hits Australia after six inches of rain fell in just 30 minutes: Scientists see climate change link to Australian floods
- The year of living dangerously. Masters: “The stunning extremes we witnessed gives me concern that our climate is showing the early signs of instability”; Munich Re: “The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change”
- Hansen: Would recent extreme “events have occurred if atmospheric carbon dioxide had remained at its pre-industrial level of 280 ppm?” The “appropriate answer” is “almost certainly not.”
- Australia to cut, delay $500 million of clean-energy funding after record warming-driven floods. Seriously!