2017 will, according to the experts, be the hottest non-El Nino year ever recorded. It will also be the third hottest year ever measured. The two hottest years to date were in 2016 and 2015.
These facts are vitally important to humanity. They have also been taken as the latest confirmation of a global warming trend that will ultimately affect every aspect of life on this fragile planet.
We are, according to the ANU's Sophie Lewis, already on track to experience 50 degree days in Sydney and Melbourne within the lifetimes of most Australians aged under 60 if the most stringent efforts are not made to reduce carbon emissions.
Such days, which would almost certainly lead to numerous heat related deaths, are possible even if the two degree global warming limit agreed to in the Paris Accord in 2015 is achieved.
"If we warm average temperatures, we shift the whole distribution of temperatures, and we see a really large percentage increase in the extremes," she said.
While global temperatures are now about one degree warmer than in the period from 1880 to 1900 and .96 degrees warmer than the 1961-1990 average, maximum temperatures have increased by 1.34 degrees.
Another Australian climate scientist, Dr Sarah Perkins-Fitzpatrick, said the number of heatwave days will rise significantly depending on whether or not global warming is contained within the 1.5 to two degrees range. She said the number of heatwave days would increase between 14.28 to 28.2 per year for each degree of warming.
Dr Lewis and Dr Perkins-Fitzpatrick, like the vast majority of the world's climate scientists, take the view there is a direct correlation between the increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere as a result of industrialisation and global warming.
This means while we have been fortunate enough to avoid the catastrophic energy shortages predicted 10 and 20 years ago when it was feared the oil would run out, the time has come to let go of our fossil fuel dependency.
We don't have to burn the very last gallon of oil and the last tonne of coal. It is okay to leave it in the ground.
As far as Australia is concerned the age of coal is coming to an end, although there are many in industry and parliament resisting that eventuality.
It therefore makes little sense for this country to be throwing a fistful of dollars at Adani to develop a Queensland coal reserve that may well be already past its use by date.
When also taking into account the potential danger that project poses to the Great Barrier Reef there seems to be no possible justification for proceeding with it.
Humanity is at a watershed where the need to phase out fossil fuels in favour of the rapidly evolving renewable energy sector is becoming increasingly urgent. Whether our political leaders are willing to accept that reality and get on with the job is another matter.
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