Alarmists need to brush up on his­tory

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - PETA CREDLIN -

All the so-called lead­ers and self-ap­pointed cli­mate guardians blam­ing the cur­rent bush­fires on cli­mate change know lit­tle of our his­tory — and even less about how indige­nous peo­ple man­aged the land for tens of thou­sands of years. It’s not cli­mate change that has caused these bush­fires. It’s a se­vere drought in much of eastern Aus­tralia, cou­pled with the re­luc­tance of green­driven coun­cils and gov­ern­ment de­part­ments to al­low haz­ardreduc­tion burns.

Prior to Euro­pean set­tle­ment, Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple would rou­tinely set fire to the bush to keep down un­der­growth and to cre­ate graz­ing for kan­ga­roos and other game.

It’s why the early set­tlers de­scribed the coun­try they found for the first time as al­most park­land. Fire-stick farm­ing still hap­pens in parts of re­mote Aus­tralia.

But set­tlers from Bri­tain, where wild­fire had been vir­tu­ally un­known for cen­turies, nat­u­rally enough, fol­lowed their own land man­age­ment prac­tices with­out sys­tem­atic burn­ing — and soon enough cat­a­strophic fires fol­lowed.

The Black Thurs­day bush­fires in Vic­to­ria in 1851 killed about 12 peo­ple and are thought to have de­stroyed five mil­lion hectares, or about twice the area burnt so far this year in NSW. The 1898 Red Tues­day bush­fire, also in Vic­to­ria, killed 12 peo­ple and de­stroyed about 2000 build­ings. Vic­to­rian bush­fires across Fe­bru­ary and March 1926 killed 60 peo­ple.

The 1939 Black Fri­day bush­fires, also ex­tend­ing over two months, killed 71 peo­ple.

In an­other month-long Vic­to­rian bush­fire emer­gency in 1944, nearly 20 peo­ple were killed. In Fe­bru­ary 1967, the Black Tues­day bush­fire in Tas­ma­nia killed 62 peo­ple. The 1983 Ash Wed­nes­day bush­fires in Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia killed 75 peo­ple and de­stroyed about 2500 homes. And the 2009 Black Satur­day bush­fire in Vic­to­ria killed 173 peo­ple and de­stroyed about 4500 build­ings.

So mas­sive bush­fires are noth­ing new in this land of “droughts and flood­ing rain”.

What is rel­a­tively new, of course, is cli­mate-cult hys­te­ria and the readi­ness of grant-hun­gry re­searchers, head­line-hunt­ing MPs and virtues­ig­nalling busi­ness peo­ple to at­tribute ev­ery ex­treme weather event to man­made car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

And, nat­u­rally, those talk­ing about im­mi­nent threats are more news­wor­thy than those say­ing that there’s “noth­ing much to see here”.

A few months back, the direc­tor of the Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence for Cli­mate Ex­tremes Pro­fes­sor Andy Pit­man told a cli­mate fo­rum that “this may not be what you ex­pect to hear, but as far as the cli­mate sci­en­tists know, there is no link be­tween cli­mate change and drought … and if you look at the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy data over the whole of the last 100 years there’s been no trend in data … no dry­ing trend in the last 100 years and that’s an ex­pres­sion of how vari­able the Aus­tralian rain­fall cli­mate is”.

Still, de­spite this, there’s been a ver­i­ta­ble conga-line of politi­cians claim­ing that the drought-caused fire emer­gency in some parts of Aus­tralia is due to cli­mate change; as if in­creas­ing CO2 con­cen­tra­tions were to blame for light­ning strikes and ar­son, and as if clos­ing coal-fired power sta­tions would some­how douse the flames.

Nat­u­rally, the “cli­mate change causes fires so we must act now” brigade in­cluded An­thony Al­banese (de­spite his lat­ter-day con­ver­sion to coal ex­ports), Penny Wong, Adam Bandt and Mal­colm Turn­bull (who, let’s never for­get, crossed the floor to vote with La­bor for Kevin Rudd’s ETS in 2010). Zali Steggall, a some­what older echo of Greta Thun­berg, has said that “peo­ple are al­ready dy­ing as a re­sult of cli­mate change”.

But the “cli­mate change is re­spon­si­ble” crew also in­cluded the fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Sus­san Ley, the NSW Trans­port Min­is­ter An­drew Con­stance and the NSW En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Matt Kean.

Pre­sum­ably, these Coali­tion min­is­ters would rather just “go with the flow” than risk a Twit­ter storm by point­ing out that it’s wrong to link any par­tic­u­lar ex­treme weather event to cli­mate change.

While warn­ing against “catas­trophism”, even Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son con­ceded that cli­mate change was a fac­tor.

Mean­while, notwith­stand­ing fed­eral En­ergy Min­is­ter An­gus Tay­lor’s care­ful elab­o­ra­tion to the Madrid UN cli­mate con­fer­ence of what Aus­tralia is do­ing to limit emis­sions, the Cli­mate Ac­tion Net­work’s 2020 Cli­mate Change Per­for­mance In­dex ranked us the world’s “worst per­form­ing coun­try on cli­mate change pol­icy”.

This can’t be based on what we are ac­tu­ally do­ing — be­cause un­like the big promisors, we re­ally will meet our emis­sions re­duc­tions tar­gets and have had the world’s largest re­cent ex­pan­sion of re­new­able en­ergy — but the fact that other coun­tries are mak­ing ex­trav­a­gant pledges to do much more in the fu­ture (de­spite al­most uni­ver­sally fail­ing to de­liver their pre­vi­ous com­mit­ments).

It would be a lot eas­ier to take the “cli­mate change causes fires” alarmists se­ri­ously if they were ac­tu­ally do­ing some­thing them­selves to fight the fires; or were de­mand­ing that we move to nu­clear en­ergy

(the only emis­sions-free source of

24/7 power).

Two things are clear though. First, as the source of scarcely 1 per cent of the world’s emis­sions, noth­ing we do can make the slight­est dif­fer­ence to any CO2-caused cli­mate change (but it can make an enor­mous dif­fer­ence to prices and jobs here in Aus­tralia).

And sec­ond, it doesn’t mat­ter how much we do, it will never be enough for the cli­mate change true be­liev­ers.

War­ringah MP Zali Steggall, who cam­paigns for Aus­tralia to do more to mit­i­gate hu­man-in­duced cli­mate change.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.