Global warming is predicted to rise into “uncharted territory” before the end of the decade, but popular science guru Dr Karl Kruszelnicki doesn’t think Australians should “worry”.
But before you wonder if he’s had a sudden shift in thinking, it’s important that you understand why he’s come to this conclusion.
To date, the planet has only risen by an average of more than 1 degree, but this has already resulted in record bushfires, flooding and drought. As a result, species like koalas are now on the endangered list and some homeowners can’t get insurance due to the risk of extreme weather.
The world World Meteorological Organisation predicted this week that temperatures will rise to 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels by 2027, intensifying severe and prolonged weather extremes.
On January 4, 2020, Penrith reached 48.9 degrees, making it one of the hottest places in the world.
More than 20 per cent of Australia’s forests burned during the Black Summer bushfires.
The Earth’s spin speed is increasing – likely as a result of climate change.
Does 1 degree of warming matter?
Dr Karl notes recent extreme weather events are “just the beginning” of the problems the world will face as a result of climate change. That’s because there’s an inertia in the system and the full effects of greenhouse gases are yet to be experienced.
“Consider the last ice age. Ice was 3 km thick over Montreal and 1km thick over New York. To make all of this ice, the water had to come out of the oceans and the ocean level dropped by 100 to 120 metres.
“The temperature drop that caused this… was 4 degrees down.
“You keep the temperature down for a year, you don’t see it. You’ve got to leave it for a couple of decades.”
Dr Karl believes 1 degree of warming is a huge amount of energy. He cites an estimate that globally, we’re adding the equivalent of around 600,000 Hiroshima bombs every day in heat.
Why we shouldn’t worry about climate change
The climate crisis is causing severe anxiety in many young Australians, and it’s predicted its effects will change every aspect of our lives.
The reason Dr Karl doesn’t think we need to “worry” about climate change is that we can do something about it.
“Are we doomed? No. Can we fix it? Yes. But only if we decide to fix it,” he said.
Dr Karl believes the major thing standing in our way is the influence of fossil fuel companies on our politicians.
“Where we have the opportunity to change things is through politics,” he said. “Either go into politics yourself… or support somebody who will do what you want.”
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