The second US President John Adams once famously said that “facts are stubborn things.” No opinion poll can change the fact that climate change is real. It is caused by human activity. And we must cut carbon pollution.
In a nation rich in fossil fuels, I wish it were not so. But it is.
Greenhouse gas levels are one-third higher than before the Industrial Revolution, and higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years. As a result, global temperatures have risen 0.7 degrees celsius over the past century and continue to rise. The last decade was the world’s hottest on record, warmer than the 1990s which were in turn warmer than the 1980s. In fact, globally 2010 was the equal warmest year on record, tied with 2005 and 1998. 2010 is the thirty-fourth consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th Century average. In Australia, average temperatures have risen almost one degree since 1910, and each decade since the 1940s has been warmer than the one before.
That warming is real. Its consequences are real. And it will change our lives in real and practical ways.
True for Australia. True for the rest of us.