Drought, fires, killer heat waves, wildlife extinction and mosquito-borne illness — the things that climate change models are predicting have already arrived there, [scientists] say.
That’s the subhead on a stunning L.A. Times piece, “What will global warming look like? Scientists point to Australia,” which opens starkly:
Reporting from The Murray-Darling Basin, Australia — Frank Eddy pulled off his dusty boots and slid into a chair, taking his place at the dining room table where most of the critical family issues are hashed out. Spreading hands as dry and cracked as the orchards he tends, the stout man his mates call Tank explained what damage a decade of drought has done .
“Suicide is high. Depression is huge. Families are breaking up. It’s devastation,” he said, shaking his head. “I’ve got a neighbor in terrible trouble. Found him in the paddock, sitting in his [truck], crying his eyes out. Grown men — big, strong grown men. We’re holding on by the skin of our teeth. It’s desperate times.”
A result of climate change?
“You’d have to have your head in the bloody sand to think otherwise,” Eddy said.
You have to have your head stuck in the bloody sand, or just be a consumer of big media — see CNN, ABC, WashPost, AP, blow Australian wildfire, drought, heatwave “Hell (and High Water) on Earth” story “” never mention climate change.
This LAT story is one of the most powerful pieces of climate change journalism to appear in a major U.S. newspaper. It is the climate story of the decade, literally — and if we don’t reverse course soon, it will be the story of the century, if not the millenium — for America and the world.
Australia is the the driest inhabited continent on earth, with a fragile ecosystem, which makes it the canary in the coal mine for how global warming will create Dust Bowls in the SW and around the globe (see “Australia faces collapse as climate change kicks in”: Are the Southwest and California next?).
It is, sadly, probably too late to save much of Australia. But it is not too late to save the U.S. Southwest and other key regions in or near the subtropics. We can still prevent the worst.
Two years ago, Science (subs. req’d) published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” on our current emissions path “” levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California. The Bush Administration itself reaffirmed this conclusion in December (see US Geological Survey stunner: SW faces “permanent drying” by 2050.)