The storm which has ravaged South Australia is a disturbing preview of what’s likely to come if Australia fails to act on climate change.
Storms like the one which knocked out the entire South Australian electricity network yesterday are occurring in a warmer and wetter atmosphere, the Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen said.
“These conditions, driven by climate change, are likely increasing the intensity of storms like the one in South Australia,” he said.
“Australians are being affected right now by climate change. We have people trapped by floodwaters, property destroyed and doctors working by torchlight in Adelaide as they struggle to cope with the latest in a series of more frequent and intense extreme weather events.
“The atmosphere is packing much more energy than 70 years ago, which contributes to the increasing intensity of such storms. Intense rainfall is projected to increase in Australia and has already increased at a global level.
“This is a prelude to a disturbing future. And it’s only going to get worse if we don’t address climate change.”
Andrew Stock, Climate councillor and energy expert, said attempts to blame renewables for the blackout were opportunistic and irresponsible.
“Storms can knock out electricity networks no matter where the power supply is coming from. And at the time of the blackout, 1000MW of wind power was being fed into the South Australian system,” he said.
“The fact is, all the generators were instructed to stop generation for safety reasons after three transmission lines and nine towers fell. And wind generators actually helped to restore power- the Snowtown wind farm was the second generator brought online.”
“Seeking to blame renewables is irresponsible and the opportunism displayed by some at a time when South Australians are grappling with a devastating natural disaster that is threatening their homes and health is extremely disappointing.”
1) via Facebook, reused with permission
2) Bureau of Meteorology