Green - Australian Climate Refugees?
Accelerating global warming and one of Australia's worst fire seasons on record has at least one climatologist concerned that Aussies could become "climate refugees", forced to abandon their homes because of the changing climate.
"It is conceivable that much of Australia simply becomes too hot and dry for human habitation," said Michael Mann. "In that case, yes, unfortunately, we could well see Australians join the ranks of the world's climate refugees."
The US climatologist, geophysicist, and founder of the website RealClimate.org is on a sabbatical from his gig as director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, and he came here to Oz to study global warming. And he has a lot to study here.
The nation is gripped in a relentless, multi-year drought. Bushfires have killed more than 30 people, a billion animals great and small, and blackened a volume of forests and agricultural land roughly equivalent to the size of Bulgaria.
All of this, says Dr. Mann, is because of the undeniable reality of man-made climate change. That's bolstered by a review of 57 scientific papers which point to clear links.
But all is not lost, and Dr, Mann is convinced Australia could still "easily achieve" its obligations under the Paris Climate Accord to cut carbon emmissions.
"It's possible to grow the economy, create jobs, and preserve the environment at the same time. These are things that all Australians could embrace," he said. "They just need a government that's willing to act on their behalf rather than on behalf of a handful of coal barons."