Bushfires, bloody hot weather and a brave new world

bushfires in Tasmania

Bushfires in Tassie – photo: flickr/ToniFish

As I sit here writing this week’s rant, we are (it seems) in the middle of one of the worst heatwaves ever to strike the continent. Characterised by indecently high temperatures, bushfires and breathless “on the spot” news reporters, the harsh weather is crossing the land from west to east, north to south.

My former state of Tasmania has been ravaged by some of the worst bushfires to hit the state since 1967 with many properties and stock lost. Thankfully it seems no lives are confirmed lost as yet. My Auntie Joan, whose then bushland property came close to being wiped out in the 1967 fires, and who still lives in the same house, reminded me that the conditions brought back bad memories of very similar heatwave conditions.

It seems all states and territories have now been affected in at least part by the terrible heatwave with the very great fire risk that is associated with this emergency. Once again we have to say hats off to the firies for their heroic work in saving life, limb and property.

Having set the scene, this may an appropriate spot to link climate change and the brave new world of renewable energy.

Now it must be stressed that I can make no claims to being a climate scientist, indeed not any scientist at all, though I have become one of the nation’s leading refreshers of the Weatherzone, Bureau of Meteorology and Rural Fire Service websites. This should at least lend me some credibility? I’ll let you be the judge. I also do a fair rain dance though it must be added with only limited success.

However I think it fair to say that there exists a strong body of evidence that seems to become more and more convincing over the years. That is of course the opinion among proper scientists that mankind is contributing to accelerating climate change through the continued use of fossil fuels.

Is there a connection between the heatwave conditions and fossil fuels? I cannot say for sure and I’m not sure that even reputable climate scientists are 100 percent in agreement on this. However what if the unthinkable were to happen and our elected representatives awoke from their long, collective slumber and reacted swiftly and smartly to the heatwaves by reducing carbon emissions. Perhaps taking this one step further, maybe the political will could be found to eventually eliminate fossil fuel energy in favour of renewables such as solar power?

Of course this is about as far fetched as the Coalition delivering a coherent renewable energy policy but just imagine what our country and the world would be like if we were to react to the increasing heatwave conditions with massive investments in renewable energy projects such as solar power?

What if we were wrong and the switch to renewable energy didn’t stop global temperatures rising? Then at least we would have a safe, clean world largely free of pollution and utilising the power of natural, renewable resources. A place for our children and grandchildren to live and enjoy.

Doesn’t sound too bad does it readers? In fact it sounds like a brilliant and brave new world.

Stay safe, stay solar.

You can donate to the Red Cross’s Tasmanian Bushfire Appeal here.


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