Back in 2007, Australia’s “Top Scientist” predicted that Perth would be dead by 2017.
The funny thing: today (2018), Perth is wet, cool, productive, and 30% larger.
So much for climate scientists.
Perth will die, says top scientist
Perth will become a ghost city within decades as rising global temperatures turn the Wheatbelt into a desert and drive species to the brink of extinction, a leading Australian scientist warns.
Australian palaeontologist and popular author Tim Flannery said Perth was a city on the edge – isolated, dependent on energy and declining water supplies and more likely to feel the effects of global warming because of its geographical position.
“You’re going to suffer faster and harder than any other State in Australia,” Dr Flannery said yesterday.
“My hypothesis is Perth will become a ghost metropolis over the next few decades unless governments acknowledge that global warming is a reality.”
He said a global temperature rise of less than 1C last century had robbed the State of over half its annual rainfall run-off. Global temperature rises of up to 6C would transform Perth into an arid city unable to feed itself.
A 1C rise was enough to wipe out an estimated two-thirds of WA’s native flowering plants.
The South Australian Museum director and author of the best-selling The Future Eaters said a major shift from coal to renewable fuels such as solar and wind energy was needed in WA.
“Coal is the enemy,” Dr Flannery said, adding that one tonne of coal produced three tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
“WA could become the cradle of a vibrant new energy industry. It is one of the windiest and sunniest places in the world,” he said.
Dr Flannery described State Government plans to build a carbon dioxide-emitting desalination plant as an expensive bandaid solution. It was a massive investment of taxpayers’ money to meet a small percentage of Perth’s water needs.
Jorg Imberger, head of the University of WA’s centre for water research, agreed, saying the plant would produce about 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
“Building such a plant is the worst thing we can do when we have Yaragadee, with 1000 years of water in it,” he said from Singapore yesterday.
But Dr Imberger said Dr Flannery was wrong to suggest WA was heading for an arid future when overall the world was getting wetter, not drier. He said his forecast was alarmist.