The heat is on as climate changes

Issue 
Firefighters work to put out a blaze in Gosford last month.

It is ominous. As the federal government's joke climate change “Direct Action Plan” passed the Senate with the support of coal baron Clive Palmer and his Palmer United Party, the first heatwave of an early Australian summer had just smashed new temperature records for the hottest day in October.

The Bureau of Meteorology said October 25 was Australia’s warmest October day on record, kept since 1910. Average maximums across the nation reached 36 degrees Celsius.

A heatwave swept across the continent, setting off numerous bushfires. The month ended with scores of bushfires still burning, some of them out of control, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

A Twitter post by NSW RFS in October 27 summed up the situation in just one state: “It's been a busy day for #NSWRFS firefighters. 400 firefighters are still working on 59 fires in NSW, 28 uncontained.”

It is not even summer yet.

Greens leader Christine Milne correctly described the Direct Action Plan as a “$2.5 billion slush fund for big polluters”.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is fiddling while Australia burns.

In an article in The Conversation, Professor Lesley Hughes from Macquarie University wrote that bushfires in January this year and October last year burned 768,000 hectares of bushland and destroyed 279 homes in NSW. Two people lost their lives and the damage was estimated at more than $180 million.

She said: “Hot, dry weather creates ideal conditions for bushfires, and temperatures have climbed in NSW over the past several decades. The summer of 2012/13 was the hottest on record nationally, with two intense and prolonged heatwaves in early January and March setting all-time high maximum temperatures in Sydney.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts with virtual certainty that warming in Australia will continue throughout this century. This will have implications for the nature of bushfires in NSW, as fire severity and intensity is expected to increase in the areas that are home to a substantial proportion of the state’s population.”

Hughes cites a report from Deloitte Access Economics, which projected that the total economic costs of NSW bushfires this year will be $43 million. By the middle of the century these costs are expected to almost triple.

So the capitalists know very well what is going, but this does not stop their pursuit of profits at the expense of people's livelihoods and even lives.

As Naomi Klein's latest bestseller argues, climate change changes everything.

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