The year just passed, 2005, was the hottest year on record.
Temperatures in Australia were 1.09C above the hottest year here (1998, which was 0.89C above avg), and worldwide, the temperature was up by 0.48C.
New Year's eve here in Melbourne was a tad over 43C (which is something like 130F) and that was only December, by far not our hottest month. All over Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and South Australia, firefighters were battling the high temps, super dry conditions and tens of bushfires, some of which are still going.
But this isnt so unusual for this time of year. It is summer after all, and the south east of Australia, the three states and one territory I just mentioned, are amongst the most fireprone areas in the world. The regularity and intensity of bushfires here can be worse that devestating. Ash Wednesday in 1983 when over 70 people died in a single afternoon here, the Northe East fires that burnt through a million hectares of North Eastern Victoria in 2003, Black Friday in 1939....the list goes on.
Local fire authorities are warning us to expect and prepare for a long hard summer this year, a year in which we may well have to fight for our own homes.
However, over in the US, where it is winter, record fires are also burning as the result of record droughts. This follows a record cold snap and a record hurricane season.
Over in the UK, record low temps are being felt. Snow and Ice have covered the continent.
Major (dare I say record again) floods, and now mudslides have hit Sumatra in Indonesia.
Now, remember what the 'experts' said when they first warned us of the impending disaster...this Global Warming
Severe weather extremes with a gradual increase in temperatures, followed by rising sea levels as ancient glaciers and the polar ice caps and melted away. Deserts would expand as droughts eventually eroded the land away. Immense floods and fires the have never been seen before.
I personally don't see how people can even vaguely begin to deny the existence of these new global proccesses. Global Warming IS occurring.
The Kyoto protocol, and it's targeted carbon emission reduction, is one part of the solution. Just a week or so from now, leaders from the USA, China, India, Japan and South Korea, all leaders in pollution creation, converge here in Aus, another leader in Pollution creation, for the inaugural meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, to dicuss sharing 'clean energy' technologies.
Kudos I say. I also sat that the USA and Australia should sign the Kyoto protocol.
Lets attack this problem from every possible angle.
More importantly, we, as the people of the world, hold the biggest responsibilty of any group. We all, as individuals should be doing something to sustain the life of the planet.
How is up to you-------
It doesn't have to be a giant protest action.
It doesn't have to make the nightly news.
It doesn't have to take all of your resources.
It's as simple as catching a train instead of driving. "But the trains are crappy?" I hear you whinge. Well catch them anyway. Lets all chip in and produce a greater demand.... supply will have to increase, it's their own 'market forces' at play.
Ride your bike then. "Oh but there's no safe way to do it". Again, use their market powers against them....they will see there is a way to make money out of it, bike lockers for example, and will improve services.
Buy your products ONLY in recyclable containers.
Refuse plastic bags.
Keep your Cigarette Butt in a film canister till you come across an ash tray or bin.
Keep the chip packet or bottle on you till the next bin.
Plant a tree, or bush. If you have the time to commit, join your local community tree planting group, the ones that do revegetation plantings.
Make sure ther is a Recycle bin around the office for discarded paper.
I could go on,
But won't for today.