Despite 2017 being the greatest year for renewable energy, the effects of extreme weather have devastated the world, costing the US $306 billion in damages and repair costs. It was both the US and Australia’s third warmest year on record in 2017, and the effects of freak weather seem only to be worsening.
Sydney was the hottest place in the world last Sunday with temperatures reaching 47.3 degrees in Penrith. This lead to the mass death of bats, particularly the young, whose brains literally boiled and fried in the heat. The heat is also affecting the Great Barrier Reef as almost no male turtles are being born as their genders change according to the egg’s temperature. In the Northern hemisphere the opposite temperature is crippling the wildlife as well as the lives of humans. It is so cold in the US that sharks are washing up on shore frozen to death, hibernating alligators are poking their snouts above lakes that have frozen in order to survive, and in France up to 1.8m of snow fell inside 36 hours, creating avalanches and snow walls up to 7m high.
Major strains on both the US East Coast and Australian energy complexes are creating concerns about whether our current energy infrastructure will be able to handle these extremities, and raises the question about if technology can outrun the change in climate. Britain’s Prince Charles, a strong believer in climate change, believes technology is not the answer and says the problem is that we have “abandoned our connection with nature”.
Image: Shallotte River Swamp Park – Alligator poking snout out of frozen lake
This story is taken from the 12 January 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.