So, I’m sitting in a bar, chatting with some acquaintances.
We start talking about the adjustments that will have to take place in Europe as Climate Change starts to bite : mass migration, changes in the food growing systems, water management, waste management, that sort of thing.
Then I mentioned Australia. I said I had watched part of the Scorched TV presentation, which portrays the urban areas of Australia as suffering from severe water shortages and raging bushfire in the very near future.
In the group of people there, we knew of current cases of water supply problems and enforceable water restrictions already in place.
I reported that Australia has one of the largest supplies of Uranium, and it will soon become pretty much uninhabitable, owing to extreme heat events and the duration of heated periods, the collapse of rainfed agriculture, and how much it will cost them to run Coal-fired de-salination plants for drinking water.
I asked, where will all the Australians emigrate to ? Somebody suggested a part of London, England, which we all found humourous.
I said that then the whole of the country of Australia could become one huge Uranium mine (to supply the needs of the global drive for New Nuclear which is still on a lot of drawing boards).
Somebody else suggested that, no, if enough power could be found to supply air conditioning and purifying seawater for drinking that there would be enormous scope for desert safari tourism (except there would be no wildlife left to speak of).
Or, I suggested, we could just close all the prisons in the United Kingdom and the United States and send all the prisoners to Australia to make it the world’s largest penal colony.
Somebody else added that the prisoners could work the Uranium mines.
Somebody mentioned Mad Max apocalyptics.
It was all huge fun.
Then I read this, and realised it could all be true : Australia, the developed rich-world country, may soon be closing down for good :-
“Climate change threatens Australia’s coastal lifestyle, report warns : Australian government environmental committee report warns that thousands of miles of coastline are under threat from rising sea levels and suggests banning people from living in vulnerable areas : Toni O’Loughlin in Sydney, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 27 October 2009 16.50 GMT : Beach culture is as much part of the Australian identity as the bush and barbecues, but that could have to change according to a government report that raises the unsettling prospect of banning its citizens from coastal regions at risk of rising seas. The report, from a parliamentary climate change committee, said that AUS$150bn (£84bn) worth of property was at risk from rising sea levels and more frequent storms. With 80% of Australians living along the coastline, the report warns that “the time to act is now”. Australia has no national coastal plan despite the prospect of losing large swaths of coastal land as each centimetre rise in sea levels is expected to carve a metre or more off the shoreline. If sea levels rise 80cm by 2100, some 711,000 homes, businesses and properties, which sit less than 6m above sea level and lie within 3km of the coast, will be vulnerable to flooding, erosion, high tides and surging storms. It argues that Australia needs a national policy to respond to sea level rise brought on by global warming, which could see people forced to abandon homes and banned from building at the beachside, according to the committee on climate change, water, environment and the arts…”