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Global warming: Australia is part of the “atlas of global suffering”

Written by: Nick G. on 4 March 2022


With everything else happening in the world at the moment, it’s easy to lose sight of the continuing danger posed by climate warming.

Climate warming is largely the responsibility of giant fossil fuel corporations and the governments that work for them.

Last Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report. Thousands of scientists pooled their research to prepare the report.

UN Secretary General António Guterres described the report as “an atlas of human suffering”.

The report’s release comes in the wake of disastrous bushfires in Western Australia, where over the space of a few weeks, some 60,000 hectares of land was burnt with loss of houses and sheds. In South Australia, a volunteer fire fighter lost her life fighting a blaze in the state’s south-east.

The report came at the same time as people along the eastern coast of Australia faced unprecedented flooding. Ten people are reported to have drowned. Hundreds of homes and small businesses have been flooded, and the armed forces have been deployed to rescue people from their roof tops. It's nothing compared to the efforts made by an army of paid and mostly unpaid workers, who always step up. It shows what the people are capable of. They can run this country, and one day will. Those who dismiss socialism and the strength of the united people need only to look at disaster relief to see their united potential.

Many have lost everything, unable to afford the cost of soaring insurance premiums.

Capitalist-induced global warming has even spawned new items of vocabulary. We now talk of “rain bombs” to describe unprecedented levels of rain being dumped in very short periods of time. Last December, such a rain bomb fell on north-eastern Brazil with many killed.  Parts of Europe witnessed similar flooding last year. 

At the end of January, a massive downpour – the word “unprecedented” was used again – hit South Australia. This event, in the driest state of the driest continent in the driest season, washed away parts of the East-West rail line, broke up long sections of the national highway and many local roads, disrupted the movement of people and goods to and from Western Australia, and left places like Coober Pedy and the APY Lands completely isolated and without food for days. The Air Force was required to evacuate people by air.

A month later, and on the very day that the IPCC report was delivered, 2,145 homes and 2,356 businesses were submerged in Brisbane. Another 10,827 properties were partially flooded above the floorboards. And that is in a capital city.  The devastation in rural centres, like Lismore where 15,000 people had to be evacuated, was worse on a per capita basis. Southern Queensland and northern NSW, like Lismore, were smashed by floods in 2017. Other places faced record floods in 2020. But in Lismore this flood was worse even than the record set in 1974.

The Australian government is an international pariah for its refusal to act on climate change. On Monday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg shrugged off the floods, omitting any mention that warming global temperatures contribute to more extreme weather patterns, remarking instead that “forever it’s been thus”.

Well, that’s his view.  Ours is that we’re not putting up with indifference to, and inaction on, climate change.

We will be back in the streets placing our demands on the big corporations to stop the human suffering caused by their selfish pursuit of profits. 

We demand real action on climate change, and we demand it now.


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