Are the weather Gods trying to send a message directly to Canberra? Last week the nation’s capital sweltered in 40+ temperatures and looked like it was about to be engulfed by flames. Yesterday it was slammed by hail stones the size of golf balls, which caused considerable damage and loss of power to 1000 homes. Meanwhile the Gold Coast had flash flooding due to super storms, but according to the Rural Fire Service, the rain has been so patchy that 46 fires in NSW are still burning and 16 have still not been contained. Drought continues in many parts of the country with huge dust storms enveloping places such as Dubbo and Parkes. Severe weather warnings continue for much of Australia, with the main bushfire season only just beginning. Some people have suggested that we should ease up on the prayers a bit and actually do something about preventing further climate change, rather than generating more hot air. There is no economy on a dead planet and farmers, tourism operators and small shopkeepers deserve to keep their jobs just as much as coal miners, assuming they are still being used as an excuse.
Of course we still want you to come and visit our other attractions, but with Disaster Tourism trending perhaps we could capitalise on that. My initial target market would be well -heeled Climate Change Deniers so that they can see the results at first hand. However, we don’t want them adding to emissions, so my first challenge to them is to get here without contributing further to greenhouse gases. That means no coming in their own private jets* - there were 1500 of them at last year's Climate Summit, or even by commercial airlines. They must come by balloon, dirigible or by sea. If they don’t happen to have their own luxury yacht, they could perhaps get together with a few friends and charter one. That way, assuming they are leaving from their tax havens in the Caymans, they could also take in additional wonders of the modern world such the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the sinking villages of Kiribati and a glimpse of vanishing glaciers on New Zealand’s West Coast. Within Australia we have very few trains and the ones we do have don’t connect with each other very well since they, like fire management are a state matter. Wonder why weneeded Federation? Perhaps we could deploy some of those camels, so they won’t all have to be put down.
What will it Cost? Not sure of the final costs yet. According to Paul Read and Richard Dennis writing in The Conversation, our disaster bill to date - tangible costs only i.e. lives lost, homes lost, livelihoods lost, stock losses, tourism etc are currently estimated to be $100 billion, and that’s not counting the human cost or the toll on wildlife and habitat. This amount will be split among tour guests withanadditional surcharge for wasting time, opposing the carbon tax ander minimising their taxes, so that we can establish some new industries, so that even our coalminers can look forward to a future, rather than being cast aside when the coal runs out. Nostalgically looking back to the past is not an option, nor is adaptation. We need forward planning now, so please think hard at Davos folks.