Climate scientists in Australia have set the date for their tipping point:
From the BBC: With its spectacular harbour and beautiful suburban beaches, Sydney is often portrayed as one of the most desirable cities to live in.
But this report paints a disturbing picture of how life here could be completely transformed by the year 2070, if climate change goes unchecked.
The report continues:
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation report also warns that temperatures could rise 5C above the predicted global average.
This would leave the city facing an almost permanent state of drought.
It warns of severe droughts nine out of every 10 years, a dramatic rise in the number of bush fires, and freak storm surges which could devastate the coastline.
[The report] warns that if residents do not cut water consumption by more than 50% over the next 20 years, the city will become unsustainable.
Freak storm surges... Droughts nine out of every 10 years. Bush fires...
So, they have the next 20 years. But, of course, this isn't in a vacuum. The Aussies, with their customary good humor and courage, will most likely take the report seriously and do all they can to avert disaster.
But what about the rest of the world? How much can OZ help itself if other countries continue damaging the environment?
Anyone seen On the Beach? It's the story of how radiation from a nuclear war left Australia as the world's only clean zone, temporarily, as the residents waited for the deadly fallout to reach them.
So, if Australia has twenty years to get it right, how much time for the rest of the world?
The climate scientists testifying before Barbara Boxer's and Henry Waxman's committees yesterday as well as the scientists at the IPCC meeting in Paris gave a ten year tipping point.
[Note: The tipping point, in this case, refers to the point of no return as defined by Gavin Schmidt, James Allen and Drew Shindell at NASA. That does not mean we have ten years. It means that within ten years, after which, there's nothing we can do about it.]
Australia's instructions to their citizens?
It warns that if residents do not cut water consumption by more than 50% over the next 20 years, the city will become unsustainable.
That's all well and good, in terms of conservation.
It doesn't get to the root of the problem:
With a ten year window to make a complete turnaround...
This is worldwide emergency.
[Note: For those of you who have ideas, Barbara Boxer is listening here]
*Picture of Sydney Opera House reprinted under the GNU free documentation license