The ice caps melting is a concern not only for rising sea levels but also for the amount of methane gas they release.
Ron Bernardi visited Cape Patterson looking for evidence of climate change as described in his letter on the 4th of Feb. It’s not clear whether he accepts climate change is happening or not but his letter does highlight the problem facing ordinary folk looking out their windows and not seeing any evidence of change.
As the planet’s average temperature rises we expect and are observing the effects of more energy in the atmosphere, for example more severe rain and flood events. Locally this has caused unprecedented land slips and road damage. In Queensland floods that are considered one in a hundred year events are happening every few years. We are experiencing more hot days than would have been expected. The severe weather events in the US are finally causing enough people and politicians to wake up and acknowledge the need to change so we don’t end up with a world that is 4-6 degrees hotter which is where we are heading now. Ocean acidification, loss of Arctic ice cover and changes in behavior of wildlife are not readily observed from a stroll at Cape Patterson but that doesn’t mean it is not happening.
As for Ron’s question on when do the Greens expect sea level rise to inundate Cape Patterson, the answer is that sea levels have already risen but not enough for Ron or anyone else to notice by having a walk on the beach. Sea level rise of metres is ultimately possible if the land based ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica melt but that will take decades and decades. The whole point of raising these concerns is to avoid the calamity of climate change. Pretending it isn’t happening is for fools. The Greens are the only political party with a serious agenda to tackle the problem. We accept the message is not popular or easy to cope with but it is right. The sooner we transform our energy mix toward renewables the better off we will be with more jobs in new industries, better health outcomes without fossil fuel pollution and better prospects for a safe climate for our children.
I was dismayed to hear our state member of parliament, Gary Blackwood speak on the radio about the proposed change to the regulations on forestry. The Lib/Nats propose that threatened species can be protected on a “landscape wide” perspective so that if animals that are threatened with extinction are found in a proposed logging coupe a bureaucrat will be able to ignore that fact if she thinks there are sufficient other places where those animals could be living and proceed with logging.
This is in response to court action taken by environmental groups to save forest at Brown Mountain, which was successful and shows that there is no stopping the business machine if there are resources to exploit and money to be made. If Mr Blackwood and his party listened to biological scientists they would hear that we are living through a mass extinction event the likes of which has not been seen for millions of years and it is due to us. Our desire to consume energy, forests, minerals and so on is reducing the habitat of countless species to the point where they are dying out at about 1000 times faster than the normal rate. Given this fact it makes sense to me and to many others that we should be expanding the habitats for other species not destroying them.
The counterargument is that consumers want their timber products, their paper and their export dollars from woodchips. My answer to that is that responsible government is about safeguarding our society and its long-term interests. A responsible parent would not allow a child to consume endless quantities of junk food just because that’s what it demands. Our whole life depends on the biosphere- the thin layer of soil, fresh water and air and all the life that is part of it. A responsible government would make its preservation a top priority.