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Climate Scientist addresses CRU3A

Why is it important that humans are not fish? Distinguished Australian climate scientist Emeritus Professor David Karoly, asked the question of a bemused CRU3A audience via zoom at the Yamba Bowling Club last week.

It is, of course, responded participants, because when the sea level rises, the homes of many humans will flood. Not so much, said Professor Karoly. The reason it is important right now is because humans live on land, and the scientific predictions of the global rise in temperatures takes an average of both the temperature of the ocean together with the temperature on land (hotter). The average temperature predictions thereby understate those more relevant to humans. The politicians prefer it this way. We need to change this, Professor Karoly urged.

In a presentation entitled “Climate Change and its Impacts: What you need to know”, Professor Karoly also posed, and answered, many other issues for his appreciative audience. These included: how and why is the IPCC a trusted source of information on global warming?; Why exactly is the Earth heating up?; Have humans experienced these sorts of temperature rises before and how can our long-lived indigenous community help us here?; How can we be certain that global warming is caused by humans and not by, say, underwater, volcanoes?; For the Earth to stabilize at a “safe” level of 1.5° C increase, we will have to not just stop emitting CO2, but actually remove out of the atmosphere around 10 billion tonnes of CO2 almost every year. By what means can we possibly do this?; Why is it that when global average temperatures rise, Australia’s temperature will be 40 per cent higher?; How will the North Coast New South Wales be affected in terms of impacts, such as extreme rainfall, flooding, coastal erosion, extreme heat days, and fire risk?; how will these impacts affect our local ecosystems, the ocean (acidity and species) and local enterprises such as agriculture?

A link to the recording of Professor Karoly’s presentation and the Q and A session will be uploaded shortly to the Clarence River University of the Third Age (cru3a) web site.

Judith McNeill