Australia’s Cyclone: Climate Change, or Just Really Bad Weather?

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A man stands in front of his cyclone-wrecked home in northeast Australia on Feb. 4. (Getty)

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The cyclone that thrashed a still-soggy Queensland yesterday has re-energized an ongoing debate Down Under over what Australia can expect from a warmer planet and what the nation – the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide per capita – should do about it.

“If we are seeing an intensification of extreme weather events now, you ain’t see nothing yet,” Ross Garnaut, the government’s climate change adviser who released the first of several updates to his 2008 report on fighting global warming yesterday, said in a speech the day after the category 5 storm landed in northeast Queensland, killing one man and doing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the region’s buildings and the agricultural sector.

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