Australia recorded its hottest day EVER on Wednesday with a national average temperature of 40.9C. Paradoxically, the front page of The Australian newspaper, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, ran a story on coal exports and another story attacking the people who are trying to tackle the problem of climate change.
Instead, a British news source is reporting the record-breaking heat in Australia. It is especially astonishing because Australia will do particularly badly as the climate warms over the coming decades. It is already the driest inhabited continent on Earth (aside from Antarctica) and it’s already very hot.
Even if we stopped all our emissions tomorrow the climate will continue to warm for at least another decade because of the emissions we’ve already made – it takes a little while for the climate system to catch up. We need to get our emissions to ZERO. Lowering them is not sufficient. They must be zero. At the moment we’re doing exactly the opposite of what needs to be done: our emissions are still going up, although the growth rate has slowed. If you think it’s hot today then there’s worse still to come because the hottest days today will be the coolest days in the future.
Solving the problem requires collective action from everybody. The small percentage of the population eating less meat or buying a smaller car are going to have little impact if the rest of the population does nothing. We all need to take action and more importantly, we need to demand action from the people in charge.