The recent series of bushfires in Australia are being called the continent’s worst natural disaster in over 100 years. The death toll is expected to rise above 200. Over 1,000 houses have been destroyed. 5,000 are homeless.
In response, the firefighter’s union has issued a stern demand to the government: take global warming more seriously. Every part of this story is basically incomprehensible in an American context.
> The firefighters union has now joined Green politicians and environmental activists in arguing that the deadly infernos are a climate change wake-up call to Australia.
Coalitions! Strange bedfellows!
> In their letter to Rudd, the firefighters cited Australian scientists forecasting a “low global warming scenario” would see catastrophic fire events in Victoria every five to seven years by 2020, and by 2050, a doubling of extreme danger fire days.
Citation of scientific research! A subtle grasp of the statistical nature of extreme weather events!
> “Given the federal government’s dismal greenhouse gas emissions cut of 5 percent, the science suggests we are well on the way to guaranteeing that somewhere in the country there will be an almost annual repeat of the recent disaster,” they said.
Pressure for meaningful action! From outside the environmental community!
Contrast this to a recent New York Times article that spilled over 1,200 words on the horrifying drought in California, and not a single one of them was “climate” or “change” or “global” or “warming”.
Look, it’s tricky business writing about the interplay of climate change and individual weather events. RealClimate recently ran several thoughtful posts on this topic, which basically boil down to this conclusion: the links are there, and they’re getting stronger. How much longer can the U.S. media continue to ignore them? (Or, as the case may be, simply lie about them?)