Global warming is contributing to drought conditions in Australia, where currently 90% of NSW is affected by the exceedingly dry conditions. A report by the World Wildlife Fund WWF earlier this year found that of the four droughts since 1950, the latest one in 2002 was the most severe. A study of that drought stated:
"While higher temperatures are expected during El Nino triggered droughts, the 2002 drought temperatures are extraordinary when compared to the four major droughts since 1950, with average maximum temperatures more than 1 degree Celcius higher than these other droughts," he said.
At least half of Australia's arable land is currently affected by the drought and the livelihoods of farmers are looking dire. The government has already provided $A670 million dollars in aid to farmers, and more is needed. The drought not only impacts the $30 billion farm export industry it causes tangential problems such as an increase in suicide rates among those affected. and problems with thirsty wildlife such as feral camels wandering into harms way.
Prime Minister John Howard believes that global warming is not a myth according to this story, (news.com.au) "PM warms to climate evidence" (May 22, 2005)
"I don't believe it (global warming) is all a myth - no, I don't," Mr Howard said. "I have seen enough scientific evidence - I think some of the descriptions of it, some of the extreme manifestations of it, are mythical - but I do think there is a very strong case for controlling greenhouse gas emissions."
Nevertheless the PM hasn't signed the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Nor will he assert that the drought is related to global warming, a connection that is still contested by national leaders and skeptics.