The Stream, December 21: Australia Climate Report Warns of Long-Term Increase in Droughts, Fires

The Global Rundown

A state of the climate report in Australia says the country is on track to experience a long-term increase in droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires. Three environmental groups prepare to sue the U.S. government over the discharge of polluted water into Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. Israel’s parched Sea of Galilee gets a boost after heavy rains. The Nigerian Red Cross says that thousands of people displaced by recent flooding are at high risk of hunger and disease. Residents of Papua New Guinea’s South Fly district must carefully conserve water after months of drought.

“It’s not only our people inland. Some coastal villages totally depend on water, most of them have to look around, further inside, to the streams to get their water.” –Sekie Agisa, the MP of Papua New Guinea’s South Fly district, in reference to water shortages in the southern part of the Pacific nation. Rainfall in South Fly is expected to return to normal in March, but 25,000 affected residents must carefully conserve water until then. Radio New Zealand

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By The Numbers

1.5 centimeters (0.6 inches) Amount that the Sea of Galilee rose after rainfall on Thursday morning. Water levels in the Sea of Galilee have been declining for months, and are currently 29 centimeters (11.4 inches) above “black line” water levels, which signal irreparable damage to the Israeli waterbody. The Jerusalem Post

2 million Estimated number of Nigerians who were impacted by severe flooding in September. The disaster destroyed homes and cropland and displaced an estimated 200,000 people. The Nigerian Red Cross says the situation is still a “major humanitarian crisis” and warns that thousands are at risk of resource shortages and disease. Voice of America

Science, Studies, And Reports

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) released a grim state of the climate report this week. The biennial report warns that temperatures are steadily rising across the country, and that a long-term increase in droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires is likely. The Guardian

On The Radar

Three environmental groups intend to sue the U.S. government over the Army Corps of Engineers’ management plan for Lake Okeechobee, Florida. The groups say the government allowed “unmitigated discharges” of contaminated water into the lake, which violated the Endangered Species Act and possibly contributed to Florida’s toxic “red tide” algae bloom. Reuters

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