Managed fires and climate change
Dear Sir, — I notice that a number of environmentalists in Australia have alleged that apart from the contribution made by high temperatures and strong winds in recent months, the out-of-control bush-fires have not been helped by the action taken by members of the Green Party three years ago.
It seems that climate change activists claimed that managed fires in urban areas by regular back-burning increased levels of CO2, and insisted it be stopped.
This led to an explosive mass of debris and undergrowth, and it is considered by some of the environmentalists that the level of such uncontrollable fires could be laid at the door of activist interference.
It’s about time that people began to approach the problems associated with climate change in a sensible mature manner and not be content to rely on the words of a young Swedish teenager and the enjoyment that some people seem to derive from school-children penning fancy notices and skiving off school on Friday afternoons.
It could simply be that the planet is about to enter another period of its varied life, There is clear evidence available that through the passage of time, none of the earlier changes which occurred on the planet would have been very accommodating to human beings — so is climate change just another instance, who knows? One thing is certain, in addition to the unchecked abuse of the planet that old Mother Earth has had to contend with, is the ever-increasing human population which in approximately 20 years’ time will have another couple of billion souls contributing to an already desperate situation. — Yours faithfully,
It appears to be a myth that action by the Greens made the fires worse. Prof Ross Bradstock, the director of the centre for environmental risk management of bushfires at the University of Wollongong, was quoted as saying: “These are very tired and very old conspiracy theories that get a run after most major fires. They’ve been extensively dealt with in many inquiries.” Australian MP Barnaby Joyce has said that “greens policy” gets in the way “of many of the practicalities of fighting a fire and managing it”, although the Greens have never been in power and thus could not implement any policy.
Prof Bradstock said of the claims: “Joyce’s claims are familiar but without foundation. It’s simply conspiracy stuff. It’s an obvious attempt to deflect the conversation away from climate change.” A spokesperson for the New South Wales department of planning, industry and environment has told the Guardian: “Hazard reduction is just one way of preparing for bushfires — it doesn’t remove the threat of fire.” The department said it had a hazard reduction target to treat 680,000ha of parks and reserves in the five years from 2011, which it had exceeded.