Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Australian fires heat up climate debate

RISKY:Pressure to reduce carbon emissions is mounting on Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who once described the science around climate change as ‘absolute crap’

Reuters, SYDNEY

Last month, leading global climate scientists said they were more certain that human activity was the main cause of global warming, which would bring more heatwaves and droughts, as well as more floods and rising sea-levels.

Scientists and most politicians are loath to link single weather or fire events to climate change, and Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt was heavily criticized by some government ministers and media for “political point-scoring” when he did that after last week’s blazes.

However, the fires and persistent hot weather would increase public pressure on Abbott to come up with a strong alternative to carbon pricing, said Tristan Edis, a former research fellow at the Grattan Institute and now editor of Climate Spectator.

“It’s not just about axing something. He’s got to replace it with something that credible and in that respect, [the fires] help people that are concerned about climate change and want to see government action on it, it helps their cause to keep this top of mind,” Edis said.

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