Dale Dominey-Howes writes in The Conversation (11.9.19) about the bushfires currently devastating parts of southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. The author notes that climate change makes every risk factor for major bushfires worse, which means massive, intense fires will only become more likely.
'Spring has barely arrived, and bushfires are burning across Australia’s eastern seaboard. More than 50 fires are currently burning in New South Wales, and some 15,000 hectares have burned in Queensland since late last week.
'It’s the first time Australia has seen such strong fires this early in the bushfire season. While fire is a normal part of Australia’s yearly cycle and no two years are alike, what we are seeing now is absolutely not business as usual.
'And although these bushfires are not directly attributable to climate change, our rapidly warming climate, driven by human activities, is exacerbating every risk factor for more frequent and intense bushfires.
'… Inevitably, we will see large-scale disasters occurring simultaneously in multiple territories, making it impossible to share resources. Our emergency management workforce report they are already stressed and overworked, and losing the capacity to share resources will only exacerbate this.'
Mr Morrison, I lost my home to bushfire. Your thoughts and prayers are not enough
Janet Stanley writes in The Conversation (12.11.19) about the gap between our political leaders' words and deeds when it comes to mitigating the effects that climate change is having upon our natural environment. After recent devastating and destructive bushfires, climate change has evidently arrived, and politicians should drop the meaningless rhetoric.
'Fires of unprecedented number and ferocity are today raging in New South Wales and Queensland. Residents in some regions woke to news that the fire danger was “catastrophic”. Rural fire chief Shane Fitzsimmons was blunt when he explained what that means: “It’s where people die.”
'I lost my home in Victoria’s 1983 Macedon bushfires. I know sympathy and financial assistance for those in the midst of the crisis is important. However, when political leaders such as Prime Minister Scott Morrison offer their “thoughts and prayers”, it’s hard to read this as anything but disingenuous.
'Scientists and meteorologists have for years warned of more frequent and extreme bushfires as climate change worsens. Their messages have been met by policy inertia. Nationals leader Michael McCormack on Monday went so far as to dismiss those who link bushfires to global warming as “raving inner-city lunatics”.
'If the Morrison government seriously wanted fewer Australians to experience a bushfire crisis, it would use the current situation to galvanise public sentiment, shift the political agenda, and make meaningful inroads into emissions reduction.'