After the hottest and wettest year in recorded history, the seas off northern Australia are also currently warmer than ever before. This heat has led to increased evaporation and so, rainfall.
Sceptics and defenders of the coal industry may dispute this scientific data, but they don’t. Instead, they are arguing that there should be no debate – not, at least, until some undefined time in the future when the cataclysm has passed and its injuries are behind us.
A week after the “inland tsunami” struck the Toowoomba region, with the flood crest having passed in Brisbane, and Rockhampton beginning to recover, Australia’s newspapers are now carrying letters expressing frustration at the absence of debate on the causes of the floods across the nation and, indeed, in Brazil, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Like the drought, heatwaves and bushfires, these floods are predictable calamities and worse is in store as the planet is heated by human actions.
We may collectively choose to do nothing about the rapidly increasing of burning of coal, here and overseas, from coal being mined in Australia by wealthy corporations largely owned overseas. However, that choice should not be made without informed debate. If there is a later time better for this crucial debate to begin, let the critics name it.
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown