Editorial – Planetary Pains

With all the warnings about global warming in recent weeks, you’d be forgiven for thinking the end of the world was nigh. That’s especially true in light of an American announcement this week proposing blocking out the sun with large mirrors in space or by shooting sunlight-deflecting dust into the atmosphere.

For sure time is running out in the race to redress the balance, before the warming of the planet reaches such an alarming level – and many say we are already there – that the recent catastrophic and unusual weather around the world would seem like a minor occurrence.

As Earth is the only habitable planet in our solar system, the human species has been doing a deplorable job of looking after it, instead polluting and killing it in the never-ending drive for profit.

China, the rising global industrialist and looming superpower, is already seeing massive pollution in its key cities, with residents suffering badly under clouds of pollution inundating their areas. The global economic machine, it seems, cannot move down a gear when there is money – and political clout – at stake.

United Nations climate experts said in Paris this week that the planet could see a rise of 4.5 degrees Celsius if carbon dioxide emissions double over pre-industrial levels – and that the mercury could rise even higher, spelling doom for many parts of the world, including our own, where some 2,000 of the archipelago’s circa-17,500 islands could be submerged by rising sea levels, according to Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar.

For Sydney alone, global warming will leave it in permanent drought by 2070, with huge seas battering its famous beaches and raging bushfires threatening its outskirts, a report by the government’s scientific agency released on Wednesday says.

It says a 20-centimeter rise in sea levels will result in storm surges of 22 meters on Sydney’s beaches, leaving them eroded and inundating oceanfront properties.

“This might sound like a doomsday scenario, but it’s one we must confront,” State Premier Morris Iemma, who commissioned the report, said.

“We don’t need to be waiting for the impact – it’s real, and it’s here.”

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