While the world was preoccupied with an ever increasing number of coronavirus cases last week, a hugely significant scientific report was allowed to pass largely under-reported and unremarked.
This was the study of the 2020 Siberian heatwave by World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists who have been monitoring extreme weather events for years.
The heatwave had contributed to raising the world's average temperature to the second highest on record for the period from January to May this year.
WWA said Siberia had experienced "unusually high temperatures", including a record-breaking 38 degrees celsius in the town of Verkhoyansk on June 20, causing wide-scale impacts including "wildfires, loss of permafrost, and invasion of pests".
While all of this, and reports food supplies are being affected with fish swimming deeper in search of cooler water, is alarming, the real cause for concern is the finding the prolonged heatwave had been made "600 times more likely as a result of human-induced climate change".
The scientists said if the heat wave, the result of a strong jet stream moving warm air over the region, had occurred in 1900 instead of 2020, temperatures would have been at least two degrees celsius lower.
While it is a given that the climate deniers will dismiss the report as "bunkum" and "fake news", those who actually know what they are talking about have no such doubts.
Michael Wehner, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said the methodology was "state of the art" and that the findings were, if anything, "conservative". Given this report comes on top of linkages between Australia's spring and summer bushfires and man-made global heating, it is yet another argument for this country to do much more to reduce to carbon dioxide emissions.
While the federal government has done a commendable job in seeking the best possible expert advice on the coronavirus and then following it, it has yet to do the same with climate and energy policy. That has to change. Coronavirus is a crisis, climate change is an existential threat.
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