Droughting Climate Change

Written by Japhet

Topics: Climate

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Australia is suffering through an epic six-year drought and it just got a lot worse. The Australian government has warned its farmers that they are dangerously close to pulling the plug on their irrigation supplies to meet the need of all-time low drinking water reserves. Basically, Australia will stop producing food for a little while so they can allow their citizens to drink and shower.

Unless there is significant rainfall in the next six to eight weeks, irrigation will be banned in the principal agricultural area. Crops such as rice, cotton and wine grapes will fail, citrus, olive and almond trees will die, along with livestock.

This ban on irrigation (through May of next year) would mean ruin for thousands of farmers and a huge hit on the industry itself.

With paddocks reduced to dust bowls, graziers have been forced to sell off sheep and cows at rock-bottom prices or buy in feed at great expense. Some have already given up, abandoning pastoral properties that have been in their families for generations. The rural suicide rate has soared.


What was Prime Minister Howard’s ask to the people of Australia? “We must all hope and pray there is rain.” Mr. Howard, prayer is not an answer in itself.

Environmentalists and scientists worldwide have already noted this drought sequence as a result of climate change.

Environmentalists point to the increasing frequency and severity of drought-causing El Niño weather patterns, blamed on global warming.

This isn’t the first drought that has been blamed on climate change. Spain, in 2005, suffered one of its worst droughts in over 60 years, forcing the government to ration water, import grain and other crops. The drought was, similar to the current one in Australia, connected to climate change by scientists.

I hate to be the one to say, “I told you so,” but…

Until a few months ago, Mr Howard and his ministers pooh-poohed the climate-change doomsayers. The Prime Minister refused to meet Al Gore when he visited Australia to promote his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. He was lukewarm about the landmark report by the British economist Sir Nicholas Stern, which warned that large swaths of Australia’s farming land would become unproductive if global temperatures rose by an average of four degrees.

I hope John Howard takes a bite of humble pie and gets over this aversion to what the majority has been saying (and predicting) for over a decade. His country’s farming industry might very well depend on it.

3 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Trond Lovdal says:

    Well, it seems almost as if nature has its own way of balance and payback. If this does not convice Howard nothing will. Some people never will admit to having wrong views, and we see it again and again, especially in the climate change debate. The good thing about politicians is that they come and go and hopefully the next Australian government will take climate change far more seriously and be more responsible to the world community and global climate.
    http://earthechoes.blogspot.com

  2. cathleen says:

    i think that is so rude of you to say, “well, now the government will learn a lesson.” there are people out there dying and until you actually experience desperation like that, don’t go judging the government like that. instead get up and help.

  3. Japhet says:

    Cathleen,
    The government of Australia, led by John Howard, has repeatedly attacked the issue of global warming by challenging the thousands of independent reports done by thousands of scientists of all types over the past 20 years. Howard has put out public campaigns to distract people from the truth about climate change.

    Now, his country is faced with a bibical-like drought that scientists believe is due to global warming and climate change.

    My point is not that the Howard government needs to learn a lesson, but that they now have climate change knocking on their very door, threatening their very livlihood and still they refuse to acknowledge or even entertain the notion, that global climate change is a real cause for this terrible challenge.

    I do believe I am helping. Its why I took a job with the Rainforest Action Network. Its why we went down to the only Latino community operated garden in South Central Los Angeles to defend it from being bulldozed. The garden was the green lungs of the community and served an enormous purpose in food production and self-sufficiency. Everyday we are working to educate folks on climate change and the impacts of it, especially on rainforest communities.

    At some point, though, you can’t educate someone who doesn’t want to hear anything you have to say. The Howard government in Australia doesn’t want to hear what anyone has to say about global warming. And that is the irony: suffering from a climate change induced drought while choosing to doubt the very people we pay for their knowledge and research on the issue.

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