Current Climate Change equals Four Hiroshima Bombs per Second
Peter Gardner, formerly of Ensay and now living in Bairnsdale, is running as a “climate emergency” Independent in the seat of Gippsland. He said that “climate change was difficult to visualise because of its mostly gradual nature. But it was happening now and affecting us all.”
He quoted David Holmes of Monash University who recently stated that the “planet is building up heat at the equivalent of four Hiroshima bombs worth of energy every second. And 90% of that heat is going into the oceans” and that “representing climate change and ocean warming as Hiroshima bombs attracted the attention of the news media around the world.” This is a simple way of illustrating how much extra heat the planet is absorbing.
Climate change remains the greatest threat to humanity we have ever faced. It has almost certainly been happening for more than 100 years and probably since the industrial revolution began burning fossil fuels at an unprecedented rate. Since 1780 the amount of carbon dioxide – the major greenhouse gas – has increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) to 400ppm. The last time the planet experienced these high levels of greenhouse gases was 3 million years ago. Then the planet was 3 degrees warmer and sea levels were 23m higher than today. The major parties have chosen to ignore climate change during this election.
The changes we are beginning to feel are more abrupt. This century in Gippsland has experienced an increase in both the frequency and severity of extreme events – droughts, floods, storms, heatwaves and related bushfires. This was predicted by climate scientists in the 1980s. Imagine the next heatwave with “Black Saturday” conditions or worse followed by bushfires and power failures. It is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’.
In his “Vote Climate Vote Solar” campaign Gardner has offered a wide range of policies to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and for adaptation to the further warming we are bound to experience. These policies include reduction of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, a levy of the export of fossil fuels, a cut in funding in carbon capture and storage programs and positive support for solar and other forms of renewable energy. These policies can be viewed on his website.