Writer Ben Dolbear examines the poor government response to the devastating Australian bush fires.
It has emerged that senior figures in the Australian government spent months ignoring warnings by climate activists about the potentially perilous effects of rising carbon dioxide emission levels.
Since September last year, mega blazes have destroyed homes and wildlife in each one of Australia's six states, with the human death toll rising to 25 and tens of thousands of koalas perishing. Kangaroo Island, once seen to be a safe haven for the symbolic marsupials because its population avoided deadly epidemics, has now become host to a 'virtually unstoppable' fire, with charred koala and kangaroo corpses spread across the land mass, which sits off the mainland of South Australia.
In response, Australia's conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that casting blame on him and 'over-analysing' the situation is unhelpful. Despite this statement, the Prime Minister who once denied climate change was playing a role in the unprecedented blazes is now facing calls to resign after it has emerged that climate activists attempted multiple times to warn him and his government against embarking on a systemic over-reliance on burning fossil fuels months before the fires began.
Back in April, Greg Mullins, who recently served as Fire & Rescue Commissioner for New South Wales and now speaks for the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group, wrote to the Prime Minister requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the impending bush fire season and the contributing factor of climate change in its severity. When this request was denied, he wrote again immediately after Morrison's May election win, and was again ignored. Mr Mullins commented, 'it has been difficult and the Prime Minister has seen fit not to meet with us'.
Mr Mullins now says that had Mr Morrison's government responded to his letters earlier in the year, his long-term recommendations of lesser reliance on fossil fuels and short-term suggestion of leasing more large aircraft tankers may have resulted in less devastation in the country today. 'I get quite emotional thinking about it because I've seen so many people lose their lives and homes over the year', Mr Mullins said.
It is the argument of Emergency Leaders for Climate Action that Australia, which is responsible for 7% of global fossil fuels exports despite housing only 0.003% of the world's population, has been taking advantage of its very low commitments in the Kyoto emissions Protocol to exploit natural resources un-sustainably.
'Mother Nature is not fooled by dodgy accounting, she just sees the CO2 go up'.
Back in October, despite consensus agreement amongst opposition parties, the government rejected calls to declare a climate emergency, dismissing the proposed move as 'hollow symbolism'.
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