Australian Drought due to Climate Change

A study carried out by meteorological scientists has found that the ongoing Australian drought is primarily being caused by global warming, and goes on to suggest that ratification of the Kyoto Protocol would be a possible course of action. Australia, along with the US, remains one of the major polluters outside the international climate change agreement.

The study, co-ordinated by the Australian WWF, compared the current drought with four other major droughts suffered by Australia since 1950 and found record temperatures. Droughts increase the chances of severe bushfires whilst threatening agricultural output.

Professor David Karoly, who co-authored the report commented on : "The higher temperatures experienced throughout Australia last year are part of a national warming trend over the past 50 years which cannot be explained by natural climate variability alone. Most of this warming is likely due to the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels for electricity and transport and from landclearing. This is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-iduced global warming can be clearly observed."

Anna Reynolds, WWF Australia's climate change campaign manager added "Global Warming is a reality that is affecting the livelihoods of rural Australians and Prime Minister Howard must act to prevent further economic and environmental devastation. We can slow global warming, keep temperature increases to the lower end of the scale and reduce the severity of future droughts. The Kyoto Protocol is the first international agreement with targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming - it is in our national interests to ratify the treaty."

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