Greenhouse a threat to farmers
by Andrew Jackson International experts warn Australia will be (severely affected) by the dramatic changes to the world's climate, with extreme flooding, droughts, and bushfires drastically affecting our ability to produce essential foods. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change The Guardian No.1031) has prepared a draft report on how world climate changes will specifically affect Australia. Dr Gerhard Berz says, "Australia will be one of the regions of the world most severely affected by climate change. "The impact of El Nino, wildfires, severe storms, cyclones, there are so many natural disasters in your country already ... therefore change in the climate will automatically influence the frequency of these extreme events". Figures prepared by the CSIRO for the panel say that we can expect a drop in rainfall of up to 20 percent by the year 2070. However, the figure does not tell the full story: extreme droughts in large parts of the country will be compensated by massive flooding in small areas. Water-flow in the Murray-Darling river basin could fall by up to 35 percent by the year 2050, reducing water availability for crops and animals. It will also cause a massive increase in the salinity problem that has already stricken much of the country. The expected temperature rise of up to six degrees will affect the ability of cows to produce milk, and an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will strip up to 10 percent of the protein from our wheat. Peter Mullins, CEO of Greenpeace Australia-Pacific and himself a farmer, says "Farmers will start to lose agricultural productivity because of climate change in the next 30 years. "Action is needed now to prevent the worst impacts of climate change." He accused Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, who is also a farmer, for failing to use his position in Cabinet to protect the agricultural community and influence Australia's obstructive position on the Kyoto Protocol. Anna Reynolds, of the Climate Action Network Australia, said "Farmers must demand action to address climate change as an election issue this year." "This means a political commitment to a major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, increase funding for native revegetation of salinity affected lands, a halt in land clearing, and increase funding for restoring river systems", said Ms Reynolds.