I am actually not a 'sky is falling' guy, but I wanted to comment on the Australian bushfires.
You may or may not believe the science behind global warming, however I personally put more faith in verified, scientific data than the words of fat cat, self-serving politicians.
Climate science has predicted, based on data, that we will see more prolonged, extreme weather events, higher average temperatures, rising sea levels due to ocean expansion and glacial melting. And this is exactly whats happening. Every year in Australia, the record high temperatures beat the record set the year before.
We haven't reached halfway through summer yet and the fires have been burning for weeks. I read an article that suggested that the fire is possibly the biggest forest fire to occur anywhere on earth- ever.
As of now, an estimated half a billion (yes , billion with a B) animals have died. There is a possibly that the Koala population may not recover. Forests that may have never burned before, due to high moisture, like rainforests have burned. Forests that experts say are living links to Gondwanaland, the landmass that split to become nth and sth America and Antarctica have burned.
So far, about 5 million hectares have been lost, around 1000 homes. The only reason more lives haven't been lost is because of early warning text messages, so, incredibly the death toll is low.
As of today, the fires are still going and are expected to worsen again this weekend, when we once again, are expecting, what experts call ,'catastrophic fire conditions'.
I didn't post this to start yet another debate about global warming, but just wanted to describe whats happening, and point out that it is unprecedented, and has occurred because of years of below average rainfall and ever rising average temperatures, not in isolated parts of the country, but over the entire country.
If Australia is an example of what is to happen globally, then I can see that one of the biggest threats may be social breakdown. How many catastrophic years can the earth and human population handle? How many bad years can farmers handle before they go broke? We already have an epidemic of farmers committing suicide due to stress in Australia. There are towns that have run out of water. No amount of high-tech fertiliser will make your crop grow if it is being scorched day after day of temperatures exceeding 45C.
If this starts happening in more places, there will be pressure on food and water supplies that could lead to social unrest. Everything is fine until you cant buy food, or it is rationed, or water becomes limited. If this can happen in a first world country, it can happen anywhere. Once the smoke clears, what will everyone think when they see that their house insurance premium has risen, due to all the payouts made to fire victims? A lot of cars have been burned too. How many businesses have been lost ?
Then there are other health issues. Sydney and a lot of other towns and cities have been bathed in smoke pollution for weeks, the air quality is so bad it, it is off the charts.
I guess my point is, the earth is getting warmer. Whether you believe in global warming, or more particularly, the causes of global warming doesn't make any difference once you personally start getting affected. I hope this is a rare event that never happens again but if it isn't, and this continues, then all of our lives will change.