Zero emissions or permanent drought?

September 14, 2007

The following statement was issued by Beyond Zero Emissions on September 7.

The Bureau of Meteorology now admits that its rain forecasts earlier this year were optimistic. This is because they were based on the weather of the last 100 years and did not take account of the fact that we are moving into a new climate regime.

Dr Mike Coughlan of the bureau said, "we can't predict when this drought will end". Ross Young, from the Water Services Association of Australia, said we are now moving towards "permanent drought". With half of Australia's land in drought and farmers under financial and water stress, food prices are bound to rise.

Given that we have 20 years of climate change effects built into the system, the situation is going to take an almighty effort to turn around. Yet the federal government has not taken climate change seriously. Nor have the state Labor governments.

"The need for moving as close as possible as soon as possible to zero emissions is apparent and compelling", Matthew Wright of Beyond Zero Emissions said. "A competent and responsible government would be using all its influence and leading the way to build on the Kyoto Protocol with a world goal of zero emissions.

"We should also be using farming techniques such as Agri Char (aka Terra Preta), which the Mayan people used 10,000 years ago in the Amazon, to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

"Only by taking such an approach can we normalise the climate and secure the food and water future of Australia and the world."

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