Julia Gillard: we are going to see more extreme weather events

Yesterday, Warburton in Northern Territory had the highest temperature in Australia, with a recorded 47.2 degrees. Temperatures of over 50 are expected next week. The Bureau of Meteorology added 4 degrees and a new colour (Purple) to their temperature charts.

This will be the new normal.

PM Julia Gillard has said: “Whilst you would not put any one event down to climate change, weather doesn’t work like that, we do know over time that as a result of climate change we are going to see more extreme weather events and conditions.”

Australia needs a leader that will respond to catastrophic extreme weather, not one that will strap on a blindfold and a hard-hat and pretend that nothing is happening.

George Monibot, writing in the Guardian Heatwave: Australia’s new weather demands a new politics, has taken a look at how Australian politicians regard climate change and extreme weather. The full article is worth reading, some highlights are included here

So far Abbott has commented, as far as I can tell, only on the fires: “Our thoughts are with the people and the communities across the country who are impacted by the bushfires,” he says. Quite right too, but it’s time his thoughts also extended to the question of why this is happening and how Australian politicians should respond. …but as his opposition to effective action on climate change is likely to contribute to even more extreme events in the future, this looks like the most cynical kind of stunt politics.

To ask him and others to change their view of the problem could be to demand the impossible. It requires that they confront some of the most powerful interests in Australia: from Rupert Murdoch to Gina Rinehart.

This, I think, is too much for Abbott to take on: as a result he has nothing to offer a nation for which this terrible weather is a warning of much worse to come. Australia’s new weather demands a new politics; a politics capable of responding to an existential threat.

Full article: Heatwave: Australia’s new weather demands a new politics

While stuntman Tony Abbott was alerting the world that he was on standby for the firefighting in his beachside suburb, over 1500 volunteers for RFS (rural fire service) were actually fighting fires.

While I don’t think anyone is having a go at Tony Abbott for being on standby with his local brigade, it is his cynical self-aggrandising, exploitation of other people’s suffering so he can get a photo-op, that turns people off.

It is time for Tony Abbott to fight climate change not just fires.

Volunteer, Tony, good on you, and good on the thousands of others who also volunteer but don’t send out a press release.

This is not the future. This is our present. We need leadership, not a ken Doll playing dressing up.

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2 Comments to “Julia Gillard: we are going to see more extreme weather events”

  1. Recall the pearl of wisdom passed down from Philosopher King, Tony, while pulling a stunt on site at the Queensland floods. “The rains fall on the just and the unjust alike”.

    Yes, he had quoted a passage from the Bible! And no, it didn’t bear any relation to the context in which he said it.

    I’m betting he opened up his Bible that morning, turned to the Concordance index, and looked up “rains” or “floods”. And then, with no more intellectual effort than is expected of a lower primary schooler, just copied out quoted the first passage that he found: “The rains fall on the just and the unjust alike”.

    A real deep guy, the Great Philosopher King.

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