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Just when you thought things could not get any worse in Australia, Sydney might run out of water.

Bright green mangroves line the intricate waterways of Australia
The largest city in Australia, Sydney, is set to run out of water by 2022 warned a CNN affiliate which was confirmed by the Water Minister of New South Wales (NSW), Melinda Pavey
It is only Spring in NSW and already the region suffers from a crippling, according to CNN, drought and ferocious bushfires that are terrorizing residents and has “…  already destroyed three times more land in New South Wales, which is home to nearly 8 million people, than during the entire fire season last year — even before summer truly begins”. NSW is not the only province suffering from these natural disasters that have been supercharged by man made climate change. Unfortunately, when summer begins on December 1, conditions will deteriorate even further.

Water levels in Sydney are reaching critical lows, with experts fearing dams could run dry by 2022.

The harbour city could face Level 2 water restrictions within a matter of weeks, should dam levels drop another 6.6 per cent.

Level 1 water restrictions were implemented on June 1.

They’re working, too, with a ten per cent reduction in average water usage.

But that isn’t enough to outweigh the rapid slide in water storage levels, falling by half a per cent every week.

The trigger for Level 2 water restrictions is 40 per cent, with water levels currently sitting at about 46 per cent.

Drought will become more devastating for wildlife, livestock, and humans alike. Evapotranspiration rates will soar, conditions will worsen.

Macro Business raised my eyebrows a bit in what read to me like blaming immigrants (most of whom are Asian) for the water shortages. The water crisis is popping up all over continental Australia and, scientists blame global heating, not immigration for the historic drought. The article is kind of ugly really, and raises my fears that the blaming of others has begun as climate impacts begin to surface. After all, “climate-related displacement and migration are set to be the greatest challenge of our era.” Witnessing how nations are losing their frigging minds over immigration today, this is not a sign for optimism on how we will handle this growing and ominous planet-wide problem.

(O/T  I’m zooming in on a United States water shortage tweet from the World Economic Forum.  I suspect readers are curious.)

As heatwaves knock out power and fuel bushfires, public servants in NSW were instructed not to discuss the link between climate and bushfires. In fact, the NSW parliament is considering weakening environmental protections during this horrifying climate crisis. Extraordinary!

Meanwhile, the smoke from NSW bushfires has spread to South America. “Waves of ash” has washed up on NSW beaches. Port Macquarie recorded the dirtiest air and Perth, is enduring the hottest November day on record.

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Reports out of the country have found that kangaroos, suffering from thirst and loss of food sources, have resorted to consuming the contents of the digestive tracts of their dead relatives.

Australia’s marine environment is breaking down as well. The Guardian reports on the massive carbon sink by mangrove forests that have begun to tip. Soon the mangroves will be a carbon source.

From The Guardian:

Australia’s mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows are absorbing about 20m tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, according to a major new study that is the first to measure in detail the climate benefits of the coastal ecosystems.

But the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, warns that degradation of these “vegetated coastal ecosystems” was already seeing 3 million tonnes of CO2 per year being released back into the atmosphere.

The study reveals Australia’s vast coastlines represent between 5% and 11% of all the so called “blue carbon” locked up in mangroves, seagrasses and tidal marshes globally.

Bright green mangroves line the intricate waterways of Australia’s Keep River Inlet

Serrano said: “When these ecosystems are damaged by storms, heatwaves, dredging or other human development, the carbon dioxide stored in their biomass and soils beneath them can make its way back into the environment, contributing to climate change.

Globally, vegetated coastal ecosystems are being lost twice as fast as tropical rainforests despite covering a fraction of the area.”

Coastal ecosystems store carbon in their soils as well as in the plants themselves and, once absorbed, the carbon can be locked away for thousands of years if undisturbed. They are able to absorb at up to 40 times faster than forests.

This is what it looks like when your government sells out the climate for votes

COONABARABRAN , NEW SOUTH WALES - JUNE 17:  Harry Taylor, 6, plays on the dust bowl his family farm has become during the drought. In the Central Western region of New South Wales, Australia, farmers continue to battle a crippling drought which many locals are calling the worst since 1902. In Warrumbungle Shire, where sharp peaks fall away to once fertile farmland the small town of Coonabarabran is running out of water. The town dam is down to just 23% capacity, forcing residents to live with level six water restrictions. The New South Wales State government recently approved an emergency drought relief package of A$600m, of which at least A$250m is allocated for low interest loans to assist eligible farm businesses to recover. The package has been welcomed, though in the words of a local farmer "it barely touches the sides". Now with the real prospect of a dry El-Nino weather pattern hitting the state in Spring, the longer term outlook for rain here is dire. June 17, 2018 in Coonabarabran, Australia.  (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

In a dispiriting political week like the one we’ve just had, it helps to keep things simple. Let’s begin with the organising idea of the week, where various politicians asserted, both in measured ways and unhinged ways, that it was inappropriate to talk about climate change while bushfires ravaged the country.

Let’s be clear about what this line of argument is.

It’s self-serving crap.

Despite all the finger waggling from politicians, or perhaps because of it, the climate conversation happened in tandem with heroic efforts by emergency services workers to save lives and contain the damage. In fact, the most compelling part of the conversation about bushfires being a symptom of climate change was led by emergency service workers: a coalition of former fire chiefs, who point blank refused various invitations from politicians to shut up.

Given there is no law that says bushfires preclude sensible, evidence-based policy conversations, it’s reasonable to ask why this particular prohibition was asserted.

The answer to that is simple. The Coalition does not want its record raked over at a time when Australians are deeply anxious, because it’s hard to control the narrative in those conditions. The government does not want people who are not particularly engaged in politics, and who make a point of not following Canberra’s periodically rancid policy debates (and climate is the most toxic of the lot), switching on to this issue at a time where they have a personal stake in the conversation.

To put this point very starkly, there was a climate election in May, and the climate lost.

I hope it’s clear by now, as a consequence of this heart-warming romp through recent political history, that the arbitrary prohibition of the week – we can’t talk about climate because the country is burning – is about politics, and about self-interest, and not about anything else.


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