Published on
by

Climate Crisis Rages in Australia, With 14 of 15 Hottest Places in World and Sydney Fire-Besieged

Australia is a major exporter of coal and other hydrocarbons, and with 0.7 percent of the world population is responsible for 5% of carbon dioxide emissions if exported fuels are counted. That is staggering.

Residents defend a property from a bushfirein Taree, north of Sydney.(Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images)

Residents defend a property from a bushfirein Taree, north of Sydney.(Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images)

Australia has been turned by the climate crisis into a huge oven. On Wednesday, 14 of the hottest places in the world were in Australia.

Firefighters are combating 100 wildfires in New South Wales (NSW), with some of them encroaching on Sydney, Australia’s largest city. NSW declared a 7-day state of emergency.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who denies the human-caused climate emergency, initially thought this would be a good time for a vacation in Hawaii, but a public outcry made him cut his trip short. I guess the attitude of Anglo-Saxon ruling classes is that as long as they can fly off in private jets to some place less unpleasant, let the poor saps at the bottom take the heat waves, wildfires, and floods on the chin. The profits from hydrocarbons that feather their nests are more important than the welfare of the mere people, I suppose.

Some 800 buildings have been lost in New South Wales< with many more threatened, and firefighters are being treated in hospital for severe burns.

The continent-wide average temperature on Wednesday, of 107.4° F. (41.9° C.), the hottest in recorded history, broke the record set just on Tuesday. That was the average, which means there were places substantially hotter than that.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

Nullarbor broke the record when it hit 120.5° F. (49.2° C.) and Adelaide is forecast to hit nearly 114 F. (46 C.).

The world temperature has risen by 1.8° F. (1° C.) over the past century because of human beings driving gasoline cars and heating buildings with coal and gas. Climate is measured in long-term changes of patterns, not in specific events. The question is not whether global heating affects these extreme weather events, but the size of the contribution it makes to their intensity and frequency.

Hotter average temperatures have contributed to greater dryness in Australia and to easier combustion of bushfires. As the climate has been changed, cool summer rainfall has decreased, which makes bush fires more likely.

Australia is a major exporter of coal and other hydrocarbons, and with 0.7 percent of the world population is responsible for 5% of carbon dioxide emissions if exported fuels are counted. That is staggering.

Juan Cole

Juan Cole

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His new book, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East (Simon and Schuster), will officially be published July 1st. He is also the author of Engaging the Muslim World and Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East (both Palgrave Macmillan). He has appeared widely on television, radio and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. His weblog on the contemporary Middle East is Informed Comment.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:



Share This Article