*For more than a month, higher temperatures, longer lasting heatwaves and prolonged droughts have smothered much of the Australian continent. The Man-made climate crisis is smashing into the Man-driven Sixth Mass Extinction. Hideous biological annihilation.
2018 was the hottest year ever recorded in the oceans. Every year in the last decade was among the 10warmest ever measured. The oceans drive Earth’s climate. 93 percent of all fossil fuel heat has been stored in the oceans. The ocean heat is in lockstep with accelerating fossil fuel emissions. In 2018 alone, the oceans absorbed the equivalent fossil fuel heat of detonating 100 million Hiroshima-style bombs.
Since 1850 and the inception of continuous record keeping, the hottest four years ever recorded were the previous four years. 2019 is predicted to be warmer than 2018. Russia’s oil and gas sales to China are booming. U.S. fracking in west Texas and Alaska are roaring ahead. Australia, too, continues togreenlight new coalmines. The business of planet killing has never been more subsidized nor lucrative for the biggest, wealthiest polluters.
In the meantime, our brethren, the animals, are disappearing 10,000 times faster than the previous five other mass extinctions. Accelerating fossil fuel emissions is cooking the planet alive.
The land Down Under is searing.”
The land Down Under is searing. Record temperatures are being set daily. For instance, on January 24, 2019, Port Augusta, South Australia, saw the mercury soar past 121 degrees. Northwest Queensland set an all time record for consecutive days above 104 degrees, 33 and counting. The gripping drought of northwest New South Wales and southwest Queensland is the worst in living memory. Meanwhile, the island state of Tasmania is burning up, again.
The toll of heat, drought and firestorms across the nation on its animals has been utterly horrendous. From coast to coast, rivers and lakes are heating up. Warm water holds less oxygen. It also promotes blue green algae loaded with high levels of domoic acid, or, a deadly nerve poison.
First a couple thousand and then a million fish – bony bream, Murray cod, perch – choked to death, in two separate events, along a 24-mile reach of the Darling River near Menindee, far northwest New South Wales. In biological parlance, it’s called a mass mortality event and it portends an emergency. The indelible fingerprints of the climate crisis, extreme higher temperature, long lasting heatwaves along with persistent drought are all over this ghastly event.
No oxygen. No life.
By the way, burning fossil fuels has caused globally atmospheric oxygen levels to plummet. Unacceptable.
Almost 1,700 miles northwest of Menindee, or, about 47 hours by car, heatwaves and drought induced another blue green algae outbreak. This time, the victim was Lake Gregory in east Kimberly, far northwest Western Australia. Thousands of masterpiece pink-eared ducks and black swans were found emaciated and rotting along the shoreline.
Lake Gregory is a vital wetland for approximately 650,000 waterbirds. It’s a major breeding ground for about 80 bird species. In addition, it is an essential migratory stopover and feeding resource for New Zealand shorebirds like the bar-tailed godwits that migrate to the Arctic. An astounding one-way flight of 7,258 miles!
Last week amidst extreme heat, a horrific mass grave of masterpiece horses was discovered near the community of Santa Teresa, Northern Territory. It’s about 620 miles southwest of Lake Gregory.
The decomposing horses were strewn along a 330-foot stretch adjacent to a dried-up waterhole known as “Deep Hole.” This majestic family of 20 brumbys, or, wild horses, including stallions, mares and foals were slowly and torturously roasted to death.
The land Down Under is searing. ”
The most shocking of all the mass mortality events that I’ve been tracking over the previous decade are the plight of the glorious flying foxes, or, fruit bats.
In late November 2018, an extreme high temperature heatwave boiled the brains of 23,000 spectacled flying foxes. In one fell swoop in just one heatwave, one third of the entire population expired.
Across Eastern Australia since 2008, my colleagues estimate that an increased frequency of unrelenting higher temperature heatwaves have deep-fried more than 100,000 flying foxes.
What happens in Australia doesn’t stay in Australia. Ladies and gentlemen these Man-made infernos foreshadow an uninhabitable near-term future. Both the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. 4th Climate assessment predicted unless fossil fuel emissions are reduced immediately that crop failure and food shortages are imminent within the next decade.
Bees and other pollinators account for 75 percent of all food crops, or, $577 billion annually. Thepollinators will not be able to endure the ferocity nor the longevity of the forthcoming heatwaves and droughts. It is suicidal to proceed with accelerating global subsidized fossil fuel emissions.
The solutions are a no-brainer.
- Reduce fossil fuel emissions immediately.
- End the $5.3 trillion fossil fuel subsidies now.
- Focus on attaining a zero-combustion global economy in the forthcoming decade.
Earth is heating up rapidly from burning more fossil fuels. What’s happening now to the Australian animals will happen next to the people.
We need lawmakers who will protect all life rather than covet seats on corporate boards that are quickly broiling it. Vote!
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is
Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia Global Warming in Australia