Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Tim Flannery, who once famously once predicted the dams would never fill again, and who held a very well paid position as
climate prophet Aussie climate commissioner for a few years, now desperately wants us to heed his advice on Climate Change and the Coronavirus.
The megafires and pandemic expose the lies that frustrate action on climate change
If there was a moment of true emergency in the fight to preserve our climate, it is now
This is part of a series of essays by Australian writers responding to the challenges of 2020
by Tim Flannery
Iwas in Melbourne in late January, watching as more and more people donned face masks to protect themselves against the bushfire smoke that had thickened the air for weeks and that was causing hundreds of deaths. Turning on the news, I was surprised to see footage of crowds in China similarly masked, but for a very different reason. Hundreds were then dying in Wuhan, Hubei province, from a novel virus.
When I asked Australia’s chief medical officer about the virus that same week, I could see the concern in his eyes. But my attention was largely on the fires. They were unlike anything experienced on the continent previously, and climate scientists were beginning to piece together the link with climate change. What few knew back then was that three catastrophes would strike Australia in quick succession: the unprecedented, climate-fuelled megafiresthat were extinguished in February by damaging, climate-influenced floods. Then, in March, the Covid-19 pandemic that began to spread across Australia.
These three catastrophes are proof that things that travel invisibly through the great aerial ocean that is our atmosphere are a particular danger to our complex, global civilisation. The carbon dioxide molecule that accumulates imperceptibly as we burn fossil fuels causes an increase in average global temperature, which triggered the profoundly disruptive droughts, floods and fires that plagued Australia over the past year. But the coronavirus also travels unseen through the great aerial ocean, insinuating itself in lung after lung, killing person after person, until it threatens our health system, economy and society.
But if economic opportunity were the only driver of climate denialism, it could be countered by creating opportunity elsewhere, and to some extent this is happening. With enormous potential to be found in green hydrogen and the renewables sector, some bright young people are leaving the fossil fuel industry and staking their futures on the new, clean economy. What is holding back progress most strongly is the $80bn that corporations have invested in domestic gas infrastructure. Acting on the climate emergency would mean that these corporations will face huge losses. In ignoring the climate scientists and investing so heavily in gas they have made a bad economic bet but are unwilling to face the consequences.
I think that as the full consequences of the megafires begin to be understood, climate denialism will become more and more difficult to sustain. The economic impact of the megafires is not insignificant: estimates put the full cost between $100bn and $200bn. Because the damage is concentrated in certain regions, those communities will suffer for years as they strive to rebuild.
Tragically, the news from the climate scientists is getting worse and worse. Increasingly, many experts are viewing 2021, and specifically the UN climate change conference to be held in Glasgow late that year, as humanity’s last chance to avoid an environmental apocalypse. If there was a moment of true emergency in the fight to preserve our climate, it is now.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/17/the-megafires-and-pandemic-expose-the-lies-that-frustrate-action-on-climate-change
The following is Flannery’s Dams will never fill quote, which in my opinion inspired Aussie state governments to waste of billions of dollars on unnecessary desalination plants.
The following is from the transcript of Flannery’s interview on the ABC:
SALLY SARA: What will it mean for Australian farmers if the predictions of climate change are correct and little is done to stop it? What will that mean for a farmer?
PROFESSOR TIM FLANNERY: We’re already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush. If that trend continues then I think we’re going to have serious problems, particularly for irrigation.
Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/local/archives/landline/content/2006/s1844398.htm
Flannery is very good at projecting sincerity. He is a skilled public speaker, but Flannery’s track record of failed prophecies is seriously impeding his apparent attempt to reclaim the limelight.
For example, in addition to this effort Tim Flannery also gave us a climate change last chances in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, and probably lots of other occasions I can’t be bothered digging up. Clearly none of these occasions were actual last chances, because we are all still here.