Australia’s summer bushfires were fuelled by climate change a royal commission found. The royal commission explained natural disasters were becoming increasingly unpredictable and difficult to manage as a result of global heating and the bushfire disaster of 2019-20 was a glimpse of things to come.
Craig Lapsley, a former Victorian emergency management commissioner, said the $10bn cost of the bushfire disaster laid out in the report was “staggering”.
“Not to mention the loss of life, long-term health costs, and impacts on Australian jobs and communities,” he said. “Australians have paid a heavy price for climate change inaction and we will continue to do so if federal and state governments continue to back new coal and gas instead of renewables.”
Greg Mullins, the former New South Wales Fire and Rescue chief, called on governments to implement all 80 recommendations made by the commission. “The bushfire royal commission has laid out the facts in no uncertain terms: climate change drove the black summer bushfires and climate change is pushing us into a future of unprecedented bushfire severity.” Mullins said, “The federal government absolutely must act on the root cause of worsening bushfires in Australia, and take urgent steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This clearly means no new coal or gas, and a rapid transition to renewable energy.”
The Australian Conservation Foundation said in the face of climate disasters and extreme weather events, governments were falling short. “We have a small window of opportunity to reduce the impact climate change has on future bushfire seasons and the threat it presents to life, property and nature,” the climate change program manager, Gavan McFadzean, said.