The Backburner

22 Apr 2015 - 10:43 AM  UPDATED 22 Apr 2015 - 10:43 AM

As Sydneysiders recover from the storm that battered the city, Australians are wondering just how many ‘once in a lifetime’ natural disasters they will have to live through before finally addressing climate change.


The Sydney Storm joins an ever increasing list of ‘once in a lifetime’ disasters that have hit fifteen or sixteen times throughout the average Australian’s lifetime. Some younger Australians have had the good fortune to experience six ‘once in a lifetime’ weather events in their first ten years of life.


“We must be very lucky,” said one local weather aficionado. “Who else gets to experience a storm or bushfire or flood of the century every couple of years? This is a thrilling century. You’d think that these catastrophic weather events would only happen once every so often but we’re getting them all the time.


“When it’s not winds it’s rain, when it’s not rain it’s fire, sometimes there’s a cyclone or two about. It’s just amazing. To think my grandfather would have only seen one storm like this one in his entire lifetime but in a couple of years we’ll just be calling this ‘Tuesday’.


“I’d go up the street and get myself a lottery ticket if the newsagency wasn’t closed due to flooding.”


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The Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt warned that we mustn’t be too quick to ascribe the events in Sydney to a changing climate.


“We need to be careful to not see climate change in every single weather event. It’s not in this storm, it’s not in the previous devastating flooding, it’s not in the extended bushfire season, it’s not any of these single events. Sure, were you to map out all of these events and the weather extremes in general - it’s definitely there - but that takes the kind of forethinking and analysis that we believe is not fiscally prudent to do. Also, it bums me the heck out.


“Instead we should continue to see this as some crazy random event - just like we’ll see the next one and the one after that. Heck, I’ll probably be back in a month telling you this exact same thing.


“I wish there was something I could do to change this - and luckily for me there is - so my wish is granted. Though, whether or not I’m going to act upon that is an entirely different matter.”





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