David Cheal, Redesdale
David Cunningham makes many claims about the reality of climate change (‘Twisted science, Opinions, September 11).
While Mr Cunningham’s vehemence and sincerity is appreciated, the strength of a belief is not necessarily proof of its truth. Climate change is real and measured.
For some of the evidence, search on the summary reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Headline statements include “… since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia …gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era … and are now higher than ever … atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years” (direct quotes from the Synthesis Report, 2014). We are all hoping that we can prevent a temperature rise of 2oC, which would be catastrophic in so many ways, including for agriculture. Mr Cunningham admits that we’re halfway there already.
Of course, it’s correct to say that any one catastrophic event such as the recent bushfires does not have a single cause. There are many contributory factors. Prime among these are fuel quantity, wind speed, humidity and temperature – all basic features of climate and all subject to changes (mostly in the wrong direction).
Both David Packham and Phil Cheney are experts with fuel and planned burning. That’s their career focus.
Fuel quantity, fuel dryness and wind strength are all influenced by climate change and substantially determined by climate.
We are facing a record drought in NSW (lowest winter rainfalls since records began), Hurricane Florence in the USA (record rainfalls), Typhoon Mangkhut in China and the Philippines (record wind speeds) and successive (unprecedented) coral bleaching in the Barrier Reef. We just do not have time to further delay action on climate change.