With 100 per cent of NSW now in drought it is time for some serious action on climate change. Firstly, all members of the climate movement acknowledge the very real suffering experienced by farmers and rural communities.
Since 1908, we have added 40 per cent more carbon pollution to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.
Invisible to human eyes, and proving no barrier to the sun's rays, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap energy radiating off the land as infra red heat.
Since 1980, our planet has been absorbing the equivalent of four Hiroshima bombs-worth of heat every second.
Most of the extra heat has gone into the oceans, but some remains in the atmosphere, causing the world to warm.
There are opportunities for regional Australia in responding to this drought with long-term solutions.
Global warming is creating climate change, which is supercharging the extreme weather that Australia often experiences, making it worse.
Global warming intensifies the drought cycle. Drier regions are getting drier, with longer, more severe droughts.
Droughts have wide-ranging impacts on our health, agricultural production, ecosystems, economy and water supplies.
It has been estimated that the Millennium Drought cost Australia $5 billion, or one per cent of GDP.
Many farmers feel let down and abandoned when they hear politicians say acting on climate change won't help communities affected by drought.
Now is the time for greater action by all levels of government. Just as motorists have to pay fuel excise, so too should we have a levy on the use of coal for electricity generation, with money going into a disaster response and rebuilding fund.
There are opportunities for regional Australia in responding to this drought with long-term solutions. For instance, clean energy attracts jobs to regional areas.
More than 28,000 jobs will be created if Australia generates half of our energy from renewables by 2020.
The group ‘Farmers for Climate Action’ is worthy of support. This organisation is campaigning for a national plan on climate change and agriculture.
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