Linking climate change to bushfires – who do you believe?

The disconnect between what scientists say and what politicians say is no more evident that on climate change. Scientific experts and the UN say it is linked, but Australia’s Prime Minister says it isnt – who do you believe?

The Climate Commission of Australia (an independent advisory group set up by the previous Australian government and now abolished) said:

“Climate change is making many extreme events worse in terms of their impacts on people, property, communities and the environment,” said climate commissioner professor Will Steffen. “We are very concerned that the risk of more frequent and more severe extreme weather events is increasing as we continue to emit more and more greenhouse gases.”

Chief commissioner, Tim Flannery as reported in the Guardian said: “Records are broken from time to time, but record-breaking weather is becoming more common as the climate shifts. Only strong preventative action, with deep and swift cuts in emissions this decade, can stabilise the climate and halt the trend towards more intense extreme weather.”

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(Pic: Peter and Francesca, Flickr)

The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council states: “Fire and emergency service agencies need to plan strategically to identify how they would cope with the projected increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather.”

According to Australia’s political leadership there is little in the way of a link between climate change and bushfires. From the Guardian today

“The Greens leader, Christine Milne, and her deputy, Adam Bandt, have drawn a link between the NSW bushfire emergency and climate change – prompting some controversy on social media and on talkback radio.

Bandt stood by their words on Friday. “This is what global warming in Australia looks like. We need to draw the link between these events and global warming,” he told the ABC.

He also defended his decision to criticise the Coalition’s climate change policies in the context of the NSW bushfires. “Tony Abbott is refusing to talk about the consequences of global warming,” Bandt said.

Shorten refused to buy in to the issue. He said it was not a time for politics. “Today is a day about thousands of people trying to work out what it all means and are they OK,” the Labor leader said.”

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