For decades climate change deniers have been peddling a big lie. That is that the rising incidence of bushfires, droughts, storms, and deadly flooding were isolated weather events and the climate was not changing.
That is now a very hard line to push in the wake, first of all, of the Black Summer bushfires of 2019 and 2020 and, more recently, the cascade of devastating flood events across the eastern seaboard of Australia.
The former government's reluctance to accept a link between carbon dioxide emissions, rising temperatures and the bushfires is hard to forget - or, indeed, to forgive. That's why, even though it eventually accepted net zero by 2050 it was seen by millions as too little and too late in an election in which climate was the largest single issue.
And let's not forget the Nationals who, after hitting up the Liberals for the best possible deal, made it abundantly clear during the election they did not take climate change seriously and were not committed to the new emissions target.
This has come back to bite them given that as of Monday the flooding had pushed as far inland as Bathurst, indicating regional areas situated a long way from the coast including the ACT, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth and so on are not going to be immune from worse flooding than the record inundations of the mid-1950s.
Some areas around Sydney, Wollongong, the south coast and Newcastle have now experienced two, three, or more once in a century or once in 150 year floods in little over a year. That's just not normal by any stretch of the imagination.
While it's up to the scientists to explain the relationship between the La Nina phenomenon and increasing global temperatures which have raised ocean temperatures and released more moisture into the air, the reality is that for the tens of thousands of people directly affected the last few years have been devastating.
Spare a thought for those who, after weathering a horrendous drought, hideous temperatures in 2019, and the devastating fires, have now had to endure seeing their homes go under once, twice, and in some cases three times.
The impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change are making themselves felt even more quickly than many experts had expected. This means while the discussion over emissions reductions targets, and how to achieve them, are still as vital as ever, an even more important conversation needs to be had about building mitigation and resilience into the system. It's not sustainable to have heavily populated areas such as those around the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers and along the Hunter flooding on a semi-regular basis.
Unlike the ancient Egyptians, who could predict the flooding of the Nile with an incredible degree of accuracy and ordered their lives accordingly, Australians in the danger zones sometimes have only 48 hours warning or less.
Speaking at a summit held on June 29 by the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, Minister for Emergency Management Senator Murray Watt, said: "I'm noticing ... that while I could walk around in opposition and mouth off about other people, all of a sudden when you are the minister people really pay attention to what you say".
Little did he know that within less than a week he would be dealing with a clear and present danger to tens of thousands of people along the east coast.
While, to date, we've heard a lot from Senator Watt about what he and his government plan to do, this is the acid test. His government's handling of this crisis is going to come under intense scrutiny given the harsh criticism of the previous government's reaction to the last flood emergency just over three months ago.
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