Queensland and New South Wales fires are a warning of what is coming

Photo from The Australian

Contributed by Joe Montero

Australia is not yet in the fire season and bushfires have already been raging in Queensland and New South Wales. They are burning because they are in their dry season.

At Mutchilba in the far north, fire rages at the time when the water supply is at rock bottom. They have had no help from government. Theirs is a small town without a voice. Take the family property owned by Chris and Chantal Booth near Rockhampton. They are also running out of water and live in a high fire risk area. This is the story for most of Queensland and much of New south Wales.

The Tara region has lost 58 homes. One of them was that of Stephane Joel and her two daughters.

Queensland fire update: Immediate evacuation orders in place

Video from 9 News Australia

Trevor Watson has been a firefighter for the past 11 years; says he has never seen anything like this bushfire season.

“We’ve had bad fire seasons like 2019, big fires even … but we haven’t had the volume of fires that we’re getting at the moment,” he told the ABC.

Weathercasters are predicting hot and dry one. Perfect conditions for fire ready undergrowth to catch alight. Queensland’s experience may be about to spread to the rest of the country. This should come as no surprise. Recent years have seen that Australia has become more prone to bushfires in Australia and across the planet. Heavy rain followed by drought provides the climate and tinder for fire.

We can be quite sure that this is a warning of what is in store for the whole of Australia, as other parts dry up with the onset of summer.

Who would have thought that this could happen in Canada and Siberia? The United Kingdom is not exactly known for having a hot climate. Yet, during their last summer, they experienced a string of days hitting over 40 degrees Celsius. The same across a swathe of southern Europe and Asia.

The evidence is in that shows that a small slowing of the Atlantic Conveyor Stream has generated more pronounced El Nino and El Nina weather effects. This is likely to be a big part of the heating along with the flooding. And Australia has become more prone to flooding as well. Imagine what a bigger slowdown would cause.

Everyone knows that this is due to climate change, and that this is the result of carbon, and to some extent methane, emissions. Those who continue to deny it have become a curiosity. They aren’t the problem. The problem is those who know it and continue to oppose doing anything about it.

At the top of the list are the billionaire shareholders and CEOs of giant corporations who will do anything to stay on the gravy train. They are closely followed by the politicians and bureaucrats eager to serve these billionaires. They are holding the planet and us hostage. We have every reason to condemn them.

They stand at odds with the wishes of the vast majority for much more action to propel us towards net zero emissions as quickly as possible. This isn’t just a matter for Australia. It’s more or less the same billionaire shareholders operating everywhere, with their groups of politicians and bureaucrats towing along in each country.

This is why a series of COPT meetings have done so little. There is another one on the way and it isn’t going to do any better. Expect no solution to come from here. Unless we come to terms with this and look elsewhere for answers, we a heading towards disaster. Reality will force us down this path.

It is already clear that the political system I failing to meet the needs of the day. Climate is up there, joining other key concerns like the cost of living crisis and dimming future economic prospects. Most already don’t trust our political leaders and the institutions they work for.

Thousands of Australians have already personally felt the impact of climate change. They are the one’s who have lost their homes and livelihoods to fire and flood. Those on the land are seeing firsthand the effect on crop yields. The yare the ones who feel abandoned and left to rot.

The price of inaction is environmental destruction and suffering. Inevitably, the fruit of this will be anger growing as the suffering deepens. The bushfires of the time and inaction made a major contribution to the end of the Morrison government. In addition, it is a factor in the decline of support for the major parties, which is leading directly towards minority governments as the norm.

Imagine how much more reaction there will be if the impact of climate change is much greater. This is where we’re heading towards.

Nothing shows the courage and generosity of ordinary everyday people than how they respond at a time of crisis. They are our best hope. Fire and rescue services depend on the efforts of volunteers. When it comes to giving a hand to those who have suffered loss, it is the same ordinary everyday people who can be depended on, rather than slick politicians more interested in a photo shoot.

This spirit must be turned towards dealing with the climate crisis. Work must be turned towards building the capacity of local communities to provide the initiative and practical projects that make all the difference. This will provide the political momentum that will compel a government act or find itself thrown aside.

The sooner this happens the less the cost.

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