Spotlight Activity: Summer of Climate Extremes
Australia is suffering through a summer of extreme, climate-driven weather events. A countrywide heatwave broke temperature records everywhere, with the national weather bureau declaring January 2019 to be Australia’s hottest ever month. Bushfires tore across the state of Tasmania, burning areas rarely (if ever) touched by fire. Extreme temperatures pushed the eastern state’s electricity grid to breaking point, with fossil fuel power plants failing one after another in the heat. Unprecedented rainfall in Queensland brought no relief from drought conditions, with flooding causing millions of dollars worth of damage and grinding the state’s economy to a halt. Government mismanagement of one of Australia’s biggest and most important river systems resulted in internationally-publicized “fish kills”, with climate change set to bring even more stress. And, at the time of writing, New South Wales is in the midst of its own bushfire crisis. With above-average temperatures and reduced rainfall forecast for the coming months, little relief is in sight for Australia.
Status: Falling Behind
Australia has always been a land of weather extremes, but climate change threatens to drive conditions beyond liveability. Queensland is a perfect example: regional areas desperate for rain were inundated in January by an “inland tsunami” of water that brought no relief from drought. Soils and crops were washed away or ruined, hundreds of thousands of cattle perished, an entire regional city (Townsville) was declared a disaster zone, and there are reports of deadly water-borne diseases and bacteria coming into contact with highly-populated areas. If climate change continues and these extreme weather events occur with more frequency, areas of Australia face the real prospect of becoming unlivable – certainly, economic activities like farming, mining, and industry will struggle to operate. Regional populations hit by disaster may not recover in time to face the next one and will have to relocate to safer ground.
Dear Mr. McCormack,
As leader of the National Party, we know you’re always looking to put the best interests of regional Australians first. It’s been an extreme summer, and some of the hardest hit places have been rural areas. We’ve seen the heartbreaking pictures of drowned cattle, fish kills, fires and farmers faced with the prospect of not being able to carry on. There is no denying that climate change is driving these extreme weather events in their frequency and ferocity, and we owe it to regional Australia to take action.
Short term, superficial fixes like debt relief for farmers, transplanting Murray cod and water trucking will be ultimately fruitless if climate change is not addressed. Regional Australians will not cope with being hit year-after-year with extreme weather events – many may choose to abandon the regions and seek safer ground in cities. The economic well-being of regional Australia is dependent on strong climate action, and your party (and government) has the chance to lead in this regard. We urge you to take this chance.
Send Action Alert Message to:
The Hon. Michael McCormack MP
Phone: +612 6921 4600