Firefighters' misguided protest

Black Saturday

Black Saturday

The events of Black Saturday and the loss of life that resulted were a national tragedy. Like every other Australian, I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to the work of our nation’s firefighters, who carry out heroic work on a daily basis.

However, it can be rather too easy to look for blame, and to jump to the conclusion that such horrific events arose directly because of “climate change”. The United Firefighters of Australia union appears to have succumbed to this temptation, and is engaging in a misguided protest in Canberra today to urge Senators to “take action on climate change”:

The union made a similar call for action in the wake of February’s devastating Victorian bushfires and Peter Marshall has today repeated the call as parts of South Australia are now declared catastrophic code-red areas.

With only five parliamentary sitting days left to pass the scheme, Mr Marshall has warned that without efforts to combat climate change, bushfires across the country will increase in frequency and intensity.

We are not scientists but we are the people on the front line,” he said.

“If there is not action put in place now, Federal Government’s research says that places such as Canberra by 2050, the type of fires we’ve seen here in 2002 will happen on an eight-year basis.

“We are asking you very clearly, stop making this a political football, put in place the action that’s required to secure the future because by 2020 we are going to see a frequency like we’ve not seen before.”

Unfortunately, there are so many assumptions and flawed steps in the logic of this approach, namely:

  • that the climate is changing as a result of anthropogenic CO2 [only partially at best]
  • that reducing Australia’s emissions by means of the ETS will affect climate [it won’t]
  • that severe bushfires are the direct result of climate change [they’re not]
  • that reducing emissions will therefore reduce the instances of severe bushfires [it won’t]

As with everything else connected with climate change, trying to stop it is pointless, and adaptation is the only sensible approach. In this case, that means putting pragmatism above bush environmentalism, removing draconian council bylaws which prohibit or restrict property owners from clearing bushland on their land, and for state governments to clear and manage state owned bushland in a way which will prepare for such events in the future.

Read it here.

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