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Adapting to climate change: Australia's Big Dry

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Adapting to Australia's "Big Dry" ...Read the full article

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  1. Vic Hotte from Kettleby, Canada writes: A massive scientific report concluded that "there is a substantial risk that the observed decline in rainfall in southwestern and southeastern Australia will continue for the next several decades." These are the areas where the largest number of Australians live. Like Canada, Australia has had high levels of immigration over the past decade or so, without considering the water and overall resource requirements imposed by all those people in a dry country.
    The Australian government has stepped in to take control of water in the Murray-Darling river basin, and water is allocated to farmers whose economic livelihoods depend on access. Forests were cleared to create more pasture and croplands, which are very water intensive activities. Like Canada, Australia thought it would make loads of money on agricultural exports; instead, it is reaping a harvest of dust. Human over-population through migration, plus associated rising consumer demands, is at the heart of this intractable problem. Population control is essential.
  2. Better to light a candle than to sit and curse the darkness from Canada writes: It is strange that the subject of Solar Energy to desalinate seawater
    was not mentioned. Australia has lot of sunshine and all kinds of remote areas for the solar plants. Could it be that the Liberal Party which has governed for a long time (and which is really a Conservative Party) has not really believed in climate change. Of course most Conseratives do NOT like change and tend to deny it takes place.
  3. J Lee from North Vancouver, Canada writes: Ha Ha HA!!! That's the best joke all day - that saving water from a shower is a step in solving the problem. So when do we actually hear a serious proposal to deal with the major coming problems?
  4. Winter Mute from toronto, Canada writes: how long til australia has negative population growth (ie. emigration and death outweigh immigration and births)?? Interesting times indeed. Nukes are the answer, but if they take too long to figure that out, then the population will be too small to make that feasible. Eventually only workers will be there and they'll only stay there for 6mths at a time (mines etc.).
  5. Derek R from Streetsville, Canada writes: The Big Dry certainly is on people's minds here in Perth, even if I haven't heard it called that yet since arriving early Friday.

    Minor correction to Simpson's article: desalination plants aren't just being considered here. The first one has been commissioned and a second one is planned, but evidently will require a lengthy environmental review to determine the optimum location (brine disposal being the main environmental impact).

    So when push comes to shove, fossil-fired desalination plants are the answer to growing population and dwindling water resources in southwestern Australia---the real money is spent on adaptation, while climate change avoidance does not figure seriously in the debate over assuring present and future water supplies in Perth. Global problem, local solution. Canada, take note.

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