Bushfires: not the result of climate change?

The bushfires which continue to rage in Australia have prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a fierce defender of the country's vital coal industry, to announce measures aimed at lowering CO2 emissions. Some commentators buck accepted opinion and doubt that the fires, which have raged across the country, are the result of climate change.

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Contrepoints (FR) /

Weather anomaly is to blame

Meteorologist Gilles Granereau rejects the most common explanation for the fires in Contrepoints:

“Australia's disastrous bushfires can for the most part be explained with reasons other than so-called climate change. In fact it appears that the cause was an early IOD event [sea surface temperature anomaly] which led to intense drought and produced exceptional heat. What's more, the near abandonment of containment lines has only increased the combustibility of the bush. … The real cause seems to be inadequate management of natural spaces, imposed for the most part by ideological lobbies seeking to dictate nature conservation without human intervention.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

Forests have been mismanaged

Greenhouse gas emissions are not the cause of the fires in Australia, the Irish Examiner insists:

“Those who have rushed to condemn Morrison's government have downplayed the failings of state governments, some of which are alleged to have prioritised the transition to renewable energy over prudent forest-management. Moreover, the armchair critics have chosen to disregard the long lead times between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and to overstate what we know about the links between global warming and specific weather events. … Even if Australia had achieved net carbon neutrality in 2019, it would have suffered the same fire season.”

Observador (PT) /

Apologists taking advantage of the fire

Observador speculates that people could deliberately be trying to attribute the fires to false causes:

“Australia has had such fires since time immemorial. Its aborigines have used them as tools for thousands of years. ... Certainly, we cannot ignore the fact that human activities can have a major impact on the phenomenon. We must for example take demographic developments into account: The Australian population has quintupled in the last century. And here as well as there, most fires are started by humans. ... So is the climate responsible for this? If global temperatures were 0.05 percent lower and if Australia were suddenly completely decarbonised, would this put an end to the fires and make people and their property safe? Or is this simply an irresponsible exploitation of disasters aimed at advancing certain agendas?”