Smoke and mirrors

As the deadly bushfires on the east coast destroy hundreds of homes and thousands of hectares of bush and farmland, another inferno has ignited well away from the smoke and embers.
The unedifying argument about whether politicians can discuss what impact a changed climate is going to have on the propensity for the Australian environment to burn – while it is burning – is generating as much heat as the fires themselves.
Australians have faced serious bushfires for many generations but the goal posts have shifted somewhat with the climate becoming hotter and drier.
Primary school logic says that a drier environment is more likely to burn so it’s not too difficult to conclude that bushfires are likely to become more of a problem across a wider area in the future.
So, armed with this knowledge it seems perfectly reasonable to ask what mitigation strategies the Government has developed or is considering?
The deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack believes linking more dangerous bushfires with a warmer climate are the “ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital-city greenies.”
He went on to describe those trying to highlight the blindingly obvious as “raving inner-city lunatics”. His panicked response shows the Government has no answer.
Mr McCormack correctly says the immediate objective must be to extinguish the fires – but that’s the job of fire experts and thousands of volunteers.
The nation’s politicians are perfectly capable of engaging in a rational debate about what is likely to become an increased threat faced by millions of regional and peri-urban Australians. To brush off the issue as some sort of politically correct lunacy highlights just how uncomfortable the Government is about the issue.
Everyone knows our Government cannot single-handedly prevent the planet from warming (even if it stopped burning all fossil fuels, exporting coal and moved to a 100% clean power source), but it is perfectly reasonable for the community to expect our leaders to develop a strategy to deal with what climate experts have been warning them about for decades.
A changed climate is going to have an impact on a host of fronts – not just fires – and for the Government to ignore the inevitable is a dereliction of duty.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.

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