Setting the Prime Minister straight on hazard reduction
The Climate Council has released a new publication on hazard reduction to combat misinformation - some of it coming from the Prime Minister - about what is driving Australia’s catastrophic bushfires.
“Hotter temperatures and drier conditions, driven by climate change, are the root cause of these fires. It is a dangerous distraction to suggest otherwise,” said former Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested that hazard reduction is as important as emissions reduction.
“Mr Morrison needs to listen to the experts. Focusing on hazard reduction rather than emissions is another diversion so the Coalition can drag its heels on what’s really needed: effective climate policy,” said the Climate Council’s chief executive Amanda McKenzie.
Mr Mullins called for attention to be paid to the real reason causing the terrible bushfire tragedy around the country.
“We need to be clear. Hazard reduction is an important tool but it’s not enough to protect us from catastrophic bushfires driven by extreme weather. We need to take action on the root cause, worsening climate change,” said Mr Mullins.
“The conditions this year have been so bad that I’ve seen flames a metre high over mown grass. I’ve seen fires go through areas of leaf litter that had already been burnt just weeks before, and fires burning intensely in areas that had been burnt just a year ago,” he said.
“This year’s bushfire season, is by far the worst on record for NSW and Queensland. To argue that these unprecedented fires have been caused by a lack of hazard reduction is simplistic and just wrong,” he said.
The new Climate Council publication explains how the window of opportunity for conducting safe burns has become much shorter as a direct result of climate change.
“The fire season in NSW now starts in winter and runs until autumn. We no longer have the same window to safely carry out hazard reduction burns,” said Mr Mullins.
“Even though prescribed burning is becoming more difficult to do safely, the rate of burning in NSW has increased. Despite this we have still seen catastrophic fires, and this is because these fires were a weather-driven event, not fuel-driven,” he said.
The Climate Council has previously published 12 peer-reviewed reports on bushfires and climate change written by world leading authorities.
Should the Prime Minister provide evidence to support his claim that hazard reduction is as important as emissions reduction as a cause for the bushfires?