“Australia has warned that it will have to switch off the water supply to the continent’s food bowl unless heavy rains break an epic drought — heralding what could be the first climate change-driven disaster to strike a developed nation.”
The Prime Minister, John Howard, a hardened climate-change sceptic, delivered dire tidings to the nation’s farmers yesterday. Unless there is significant rainfall in the next six to eight weeks, irrigation will be banned in the principal agricultural area. Crops such as rice, cotton and wine grapes will fail, citrus, olive and almond trees will die, along with livestock.
A ban on irrigation, which would remain in place until May next year, spells possible ruin for thousands of farmers, already debt-laden and in despair after six straight years of drought.
Australia is the only major industrialized country other than the U.S. to reject the Kyoto Protocol.