A CONVERSATION ABOUT… CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is the consequence of unchecked pollution, primarily due to human influences, and evidence suggests that it will have a devastating impact on our planet if we don’t drastically reduce the amount of carbon we are currently releasing into the atmosphere. Skepticism about climate change still exists, mainly because of misinformation and confusion regarding its causes, however it is unclear whether people are skeptical about climate change in general or what is the best solution to respond to climate change.
David Karoly is a Professor of Atmospheric Science in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne and has been working in climate science and research for more than three decades. He published his first research study on the links between climate change and increasing greenhouse gases in 1987, which already showed that increasing greenhouse gases were having a significant impact on changes in temperature that couldn’t be explained by any other factor.
David believes Australia needs to transform to a more sustainable, zero emissions society: “There needs to be global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and also at a more local level, because Australians are among the highest individual emitters of greenhouse gases associated with their lifestyle.”
He says we can continue to lead similar lifestyles, providing we change our major energy sources and improve our energy efficiencies. In particular, we must start using electricity that has been generated by renewable energy sources, as this dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions. He added that the technology needed to utilise renewable electricity already exists in Australia, it just requires a political will to make it happen.
“It is clear that the Stone Age didn’t end because the world ran out of stone so we have to make sure that the coal age ends, not because we’ve run out of coal, but because modern society has decided that there are many aspects of using coal for energy production that are bad for Australia,” he explained.
Climate change does exist
By Laura Threlfall
We now know that climate change is very real, with more than enough evidence showing the damage – melting glaciers, rising seas, acidic oceans and intense heat waves. Things have been getting steadily worse as both governments and the general public have been focused on themselves rather than the planet as a whole. Luckily, we’re starting to realise that we need to be working as a whole and there is increased interest in our Earth, conservation and preservation.
There’s obviously still a massive way to go, and a lot of effort and initiative is going to be needed by us as a race, but I think we could be about to get our act together. There are many programs being established worldwide, and with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change set to adopt a global agreement next year, it’s easy to be hopeful and build up some faith; both are crucial to really get the momentum going.
Climate change affects the entire planet
By Shane O’Gradie
Climate change is affecting everybody, but not many want to know. If people think it won’t affect them in their own lifetime they won’t act, much like the “me” attitude of the 80’s with the same amount of money grabbing.
Consumers are ready to embrace sustainability and ethical products so you must find out what is in the products that you buy. If you find the supermarket/store you go to won’t sell the stuff that is environmentally friendly, then vote with your feet and go to another store. Use social media to engage in discussions about your findings.
No matter how big or small, what you do all adds up and while it might not affect you or your children, it is our responsibility to protect the planet; everyone and everything counts.
Australia needs to step up on climate change
By Daniela Pintimalli
I think climate change should be taken more seriously. I have travelled to quite a few European countries and have seen plenty of solar and wind farms being used there. Australia really needs to step up and get a solid plan to reduce our level of pollution and greenhouse gases. Not only does the government need to take the issue more seriously but we all must take some responsibility and do our part. I believe more funding and education is the key for a sustainable future.
Climate change: the debate
Climate change may not be what you think is important but having to reach a bipartisan outcome seems to be an insurmountable task.
Since the 1905 Nobel Chemistry Laureate Svante Arrhenius first modelled the greenhouse effect on the temperature of our planet, little has changed from his prediction of a 2.1 degree Celsius temperature rise.Today, with greatly improved equipment and technology, the prediction is between 2 and 4.5 degrees.
According to Oreskes and Conway (authors of Merchants of Doubt), a handful of politically conversative scientists, with strong ties to particular industries, have challenged the scientific consensus about the existence of man made climate change. The authors go on to say that this has resulted in “deliberate obfuscation” of the climate change issue, which has had an influence on public opinion and policy-making.
Below, raw data graphically represents the disconcerting trends of the last century:
Global mean land-ocean temperature change from 1880–2012, relative to the 1951–1980 mean. The black line is the annual mean and the red line is the 5-year running mean. The green bars show uncertainty estimates. Source: NASA GISS.
There seems to be a pattern to this rhetoric, with many political wills unable to realise the bigger scenario. The real threat to climate change is choosing not to analyse or debate the issue in honest, mature manner, without the influence of vested interest think tanks that parade as experts. I’m certain the current government is employing similar stalling tactics, and consequently nothing is likely to be done for many years; perhaps by then nothing can be done.
The harsh reality of climate change
By Nesrine Rima
As a result of the rise of capitalism, new machines and electronic equipment were invented, including the first car and the first computer. On the one hand this led to economic growth but on the other hand this has created a devastating effect on the environment.
The pollution produced from factories, businesses and vehicles today is heating up the planet, which is leading to a rise in the Earth’s temperature. Therefore we can expect to experience extreme weather conditions, droughts, fires, floods and higher sea levels. The harsh reality is these changes threaten humans, wildlife, agriculture, water supplies and industries.
Human activity such as the burning of coal and the clearing of forests has been the main contributor to the rapid rise in the Earth’s temperature. The greenhouse gases we produce have unfortunately produced a hole in the ozone layer that also contributes to changing surface temperature patterns over Australia.
We humans need to wake up and take responsibility for our actions otherwise there will be no Earth left for the next generation. I ask: why are we so irresponsible? I encourage you to take the first step towards saving the Earth.
There are simple things you can do in your own home that will help the environment. Always recycle rubbish such as plastic, cans and paper and be mindful of your water consumption. Remember to turn off your heating and cooling appliances when not in use and purchase electronic appliances that save energy.
Australia has the ability to shift to a clean economy with abundant access to solar, wind, geothermal and wave energy. We have the resources, skills and knowledge to produce less pollution and create a more sustainable world.