bushfires

United Firefighters Union national secretary Greg McConville

United Firefighters Union ACT branch secretary and national president Greg McConville, together with representatives of the local Indigenous community, Farmers for Climate Action and The Greens, addressed the “Our federal government fiddles while Australia burns: Let’s put the heat under them” event outside federal parliament in Canberra on November 25. This is what he had to say.

Throughout the intense wildfires that gripped California since July, the media barely mentioned their underlying cause — climate change and energy company profiteering, writes Barry Sheppard.

Harry Creamer crashed PM Scott Morrison's bushfire media visit in Wauchope, NSW. He tells us why he did it.

On a catastrophic fire day for NSW, November 12, the Liberal-National government had planned to push through a bill to weaken the state’s planning laws, in favour of coal and gas corporations.

A snap action outside NSW parliament that day drew hundreds of people from across the state. They made their opposition to the bill known and expressed support for the NSW Rural Fire Service, which is battling the flames with shortages of equipment and personnel due to budget cuts.

Catastrophic fires in New South Wales and Queensland have come early in the fire season, which usually starts in October. Climate scientists and frontline fire fighters agree: they are a consequence of climate change.

In the past few years, private investors backed by corporate interests such as global banks, financial firms, hedge funds and food giants have bought a huge amount of farmland across the global South.
The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in 2011 that carbon dioxide emissions had to be limited to 1000 gigatons to have a two-thirds chance of keeping global warming below 2°C. By mid-October, there were more than 100,000 fires raging in the Indonesian provinces of Sumatra and Kalimantan that had released an estimated 995 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the past four months. This is just short of 1 gigaton.
Thirty environmental, scientific and recreation groups have called on the new Victorian government to create the Great Forest National Park. The proposed park would add 355,000 hectares of protected forests to the existing 170,000 hectares of parks and protected areas in the Central Highlands of Victoria by amalgamating a group of smaller parks. The park would stretch from Healesville to Kinglake in the west, through to Baw-Baw plateau in the east and north to Eildon.
Partly due to luck, and partly due to the heroic efforts of severely overstretched firefighters, the huge bushfires that swept southern Western Australia in early February resulted in no loss of life. These devastating fires also provide a glimpse into our future on a warming planet unless we cut carbon emissions fast.
A popular argument suggests Aboriginal people always burned country so non-Aboriginal Australians should too, albeit for modern purposes, such as fuel reduction burns. Historian Bill Gammage argued this in the popular and influential book The Biggest Estate on Earth (2011). Remarkably, the book has attracted the praise of writers from both the left wing Green Left Weekly and the far-right Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).

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