Nasa announced this week that 2020 – a year which included a La Niña event normally associated with lower temperatures – was the hottest year on record. It was also the week in which the Morrison government used racist tropes to distract and excuse conspiracy statements made by its MPs.
Remember the good old days when climate change deniers would proclaim that “the world has not warmed since 1998”? Since then there have been 16 years when it has been hotter – including nine of the past 10 years.
Graph not showing? Click here
Nasa confirmed what other agencies have found – last year was (depending on your measurement) either the hottest, equal hottest or close second hottest year on record.
The previous record holder, 2016, experienced a strong El Niño, which usually means it is abnormally hotter than other years. But the latter part of last year was affected by La Niña.
In effect, in five years the impact of climate change has been so great that cooler years are now equivalent to previously warmer years.
So, God help us when the next El Niño hits.
As it is, we are already well on our way to 1.5C and 2C above pre-20th century levels.
Climate change deniers and the Morrison government (apologies for the repetition) better hope the past 10 years don’t reflect what is about to come.
The trend of the past 20 years has us reaching 2C above pre-industrial averages by 2054, but if we go by the past decade, we’ll get there by 2036.
Pity that thefederal government is utterly bereft of the ability to face up to this.
This week the acting prime minister, Michael McCormack, when asked by ABC’s Sally Sara whether Donald Trump should be removed from office before his term ends, answered that “it is unfortunate that we have seen the events at the Capitol Hill that we’ve seen in recent days, similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year”.
When he was challenged the next day he went further, referring to human-rights groups as “bleeding hearts” and said that “all lives matter”.
The “all lives matter” line has been used for more than five years now by racist groups and political parties to belittle and criticise the Black Lives Matter movement.
This is not a secret. Even someone of McCormack’s capacity for ignorance could not claim to be unaware of the meaning of his words – after all, just last year Pauline Hanson attempted to move a motion in the Senate that “all lives matter”.
And yet, while that implication must not be ignored and let pass, we need to realise his response may have been more about deflecting from the comments made by Craig Kelly and George Christensen.
Both have been variously posting unfounded claims on Facebook that the attack on the US Capitol building was done by members of “antifa”, promoting the use of unporoven drugs for treating coronavirus, and pushing the conspiracy theory of “the great reset” – which falsely suggests “global elites” are using the pandemic to usher in a radical socialist or environmentalist new order.
Before he went on holidays, Scott Morrison refused to criticise Christensen and this week McCormack has done the same.
It’s not surprising, for criticising Christensen and Kelly as conspiracy theorists would mean pulling on a thread that would threaten to unravel the Coalition.
For it quickly leads to the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories – climate change denial.
If you are calling out your members for refuting the FBI or health authorities around the world, then why are you not calling them out for suggesting the UN, Bureau of Meteorology, Nasa and government agencies around the world are involved in what would be the greatest conspiracy in history?
If Morrison and McCormack start doing the right thing now, they’ll be challenged to keep doing it – and there are many more within their parties willing to push the lie of climate change denial than just Kelly and Christensen.
Indeed, climate change denial remains at the core of their economic policy of more fossil fuels through a “gas-led recovery”.
Alas, for them – and us – reality keeps happening and the planet keeps warming.