Along with being the Trig functions for Theta, 45 degrees is also the number being thrown around for expected sustained temperatures in Australia, which many say is already experiencing the predicted effects of global warming. Massive wildfires, drought, flooding in the northern tropical areas – it’s not pretty.

Climate scientists say Australia — beset by prolonged drought and deadly bush fires in the south, monsoon flooding and mosquito-borne fevers in the north, widespread wildlife decline, economic collapse in agriculture and killer heat waves — epitomizes the “accelerated climate crisis” that global warming models have forecast.

With few skeptics among them, Australians appear to be coming to an awakening: Adapt to a rapidly shifting climate, and soon. Scientists here warn that the experience of this island continent is an early cautionary tale for the rest of the world.

A royal commission has  been convened to determine whether, in fact, global warming contributed to the deaths of 173 people in the nation’s worst wildfires ever and the 200 who died from heat the week before. Farmers are being pushed to the verge of suicide and beyond. Rainfall is down by 70 % in many areas. The commission’s report is due in August.

But in a country that gets 80% of its energy from burning coal, what can the report say?

Scientists are frustrated that such dramatic anecdotal and empirical evidence hasn’t sparked equally dramatic action from Australia’s government. They suspect the inaction can be partly explained by examining the nation’s relationship with coal. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and relies on it for 80% of its electricity. That helps make Australia and its 21 million people the world’s highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases in the industrialized world.

Climate change researcher Cocklin, who is deputy vice chancellor at James Cook University, said the power of the coal companies and the massive receipts they bring in render the industry politically untouchable.

“The nature of our energy profile is one where coal features significantly,” he said. “There’s no denying it’s a massive problem. I don’t think in the public-political arena it is being challenged with the tenacity that you would want. No Labor [Party] government is going to challenge that.”

So, the prime minister pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2020 (wouldn’t want to rush things). And I think we can relate. Australia is not just a case in point of what global warming will look like, but also an example of vast government inaction in the face of damning consequences. See one, see the other. Pleasant loud speaker voice: In the name of not kinking solid revenue streams, will everyone please step two miles in toward the middle of the country?

Do we actually think that’s going to work? If we don’t – what actually is the plan?