By Keith Antonysen
Below is my submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry of Zali Steggall’s Climate Bill.
The science of climate change has a long history with it beginning in the 1820s through Joseph Fourier. In 1856 Eunice Foote began experimenting with carbon dioxide and water vapour, three years before John Tyndall. By the 1970s the science of climate change was quite well developed, it has become far more sophisticated since through the development of major technologies such as satellites; and the ability to understand ice cores, pollen, tree rings, coral, soil, rocks and more exhibiting huge age ranges.
Physics and Chemistry have enabled scientists to understand what had occurred in past epochs, knowledge created through paleoclimatology has developed to very impressive levels over the last few years. In other words, the steady increase in understanding of climate means that lay person sceptics have nothing to offer in relation to the science. Sceptical opinion by lay people is worthless in relation to Physics, Chemistry and other supporting science disciplines.
Fifty years ago, when I was twenty-one years old scientists spoke about what we could expect, we are now seeing those predictions happening.
Yale Connections has provided the costs of major extreme events in September and October of 2020. Extreme events are amplified by climate change, for example, a months’ worth or even several months’ worth of rainfall can occur within a few hours causing extreme flooding. There are many examples continually occurring. Appropriately qualified fire fighters around Earth agree that fire seasons are becoming longer, and wildfires are becoming much fiercer. Droughts are also creating huge costs, even in the Amazon Basin.
While there are huge financial costs, at times causing multiple billions of dollars of damage per event; these costs do not take into account the health and psychological damage done to communities and individuals.
One of many references in relation to the speed of climate change stated by climate scientist Scott Denning where he states … “At the end of the last Ice Age, 18,000 years ago, the world warmed about 5 degrees Celsius (10 F) over 10,000 years. That’s a rate of 0.1 degree per century.” Other epochs display similar worrying far slower changes in temperature increase compared to current times.
Since the Industrial Revolution global temperature has increased by 1 degree Celsius, in some regions the temperature has exceeded the 1 degree Celsius range.
While COVID-19 has caused huge costs in a short period, climate change promises higher costs over a long term; with time the risk factors increase. The hope is the Committee will endorse Zali Steggall’s Climate Bill, the evidence is in that climate change is happening at an increasing rate; and we owe it to our children and young people generally to take action.
Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago, Scientific American, October 26, 2015.
How Antarctic ice can help us travel back in time, Science Focus, January 15, 2021.
Amazon Fires Cause Brazil’s CO2 Emissions to Jump Amid Pandemic, Bloomberg Green, November 07, 2020.
A new choice: Australia’s climate for growth, Deloitte, November, 2020.
Report shows climate change imperils the U.S. financial system, PHYS ORG, October 30, 2020.
Sea Ice Still Hasn’t Formed off of Siberia and Scientists Are Worried, EcoWatch, October 28, 2020.
Clouds of Concern Linger as Wildfires Drag into Flu Season and Covid-19 Numbers Swell, Inside Climate News, October 24, 2020.
State of the climate: 2020 on course to be warmest year on record, CarbonBrief, October 23, 2020.
Driver of the largest mass extinction in the history of the Earth identified, PHYS ORG, October 19, 2020.
‘Apocalyptic’ fires are ravaging the world’s largest tropical wetland, nature, September 25, 2020.
Demand for cooling is blind spot for climate and sustainable development, CarbonBrief, October 19, 2020.
Sea-Level Rise Takes Business Toll in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, EcoWatch, October 18, 2020.
Alaska’s new climate threat: tsunamis linked to melting permafrost, The Guardian, October 18, 2020.
Australian wildfires declared among the ‘worst wildlife disasters in modern history’, NBN News, July 28, 2020.
New Climate Warnings in Old Permafrost: ‘It’s a Little Scary Because it’s Happening Under Our Feet.’, Inside Climate News, October 16, 2020.
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