Australian government absurdity on fires and climate change

Parts of Australia are going though a terrible time with bushfires burning out of control, coupled with a drought and heat wave. The city of Sydney is blanketed by a smoky haze because of the fires and there seems to be no real prospect or relief other than hoping for rain.

The conservative Australian government. like the US government, consists of people who want to do nothing about climate change . Like Trump, the Australian government is a fierce defender of coal, and in its attempt to shift attention away from the contribution that global warming may be playing in creating this crisis, its deputy prime minister has issued a statement that comes close to matching the stupidity of Donald Trump who blamed Californian forest fires to the forest floors not being swept clean of debris.

The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, has conceded Australia must take further action to combat the climate crisis and acknowledged that the bushfires ravaging New South Wales and South Australia have further shifted community sentiment on the issue.

But McCormack, who is acting prime minister while Scott Morrison returns from a much-maligned holiday in Hawaii, also linked the fires to other causes, including dry lightning strikes and self-combusting manure. [My italics-MS]


  1. file thirteen says

    I have heard anecdotally that Australia are having trouble using all the electricity from renewable energy that they produce. Renewable energy generation is obviously not as reliable as fossil fuels, and sometimes you do get more electricity that you can use. The reported problem is that up until now, someone was obligated to pay for it all at a guaranteed rate even if they couldn’t use it. So there’s a backlash against renewables in Australia from that.

    The solution (which would seem obvious, which scientists told government about twenty years ago) is to use any extra electricity to pump water uphill to be used for hydro generation later when wanted. But reportedly they have only started developing areas to cater for that just now.

  2. Roj Blake says

    @file thirteen, an anecdote is not evidence.

    The backlash against renewables comes from

    1. Those who profit from coal, eg Gina Rinehardt, “Twiggy” Forrest, and the “think tanks” they fund.
    2. From political parties who rely on the above for donations.
    3. The political parties who rely on support from trade unions who represent the miners.

    2 & 3 cover most voters’ options.

    Right now we have two Indian billionaires investing in Australia. One is receiving massive government subsidies, access to billions of litres of water while the country is in drought, and is having the government lecture banks about why they should lend to what they assess as a poor risk. The other is using mostly his own resources, with minimal government aid. Guess which one is digging up coal and which one is powering is Steel plant with renewables?

    Rather than “pumping water uphill”, which is a waste of energy, South Australia, the state most dependent on renewables, is racing ahead with battery storage.

    Even retail landlords are seeing the light.

    Shade for customers’ cars, lower power costs for tenants.

    And yes, I have solar panels on my roof, I can run my appliances and air-con all day in summer from the power I generate, only needing the grid at night. Someday soon I hope to add batteries to store my surplus.

    Got to head off for a lunch date, I will be back later with on the ground responses to why the fires are so bad this year.

  3. says

    The initial cause of the South Australian fire nearest to me was apparently a large tree branch falling on and breaking power lines. That is clearly a management issue, the power lines would have been better off underground. That requires someone to reduce profits though.

    What caused the fire to accelerate over the nearest hill and threaten towns to the south was the oven hot winds from the interior deserts, blasting away at the base of the fire. That is a thing that climate change has something to do with. And we know who the pushers of fossil fuel are and one day they should be held to account.

    The local fire has killed one resident, but of course many others have lost homes, sheds, equipment, orchards, animals etc. It’ll take years for the losses to be made good, providing we get something like normal seasons again.

    And of course our local fire is but one of many across this sun scorched country, each one with its own tales of woe and heroism.

  4. polishsalami says

    The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack

    When this bloke was the Editor of a newspaper in a small provincial city in NSW in the early 90s, he became notorious (thanks to a TV show called ‘Media Watch’) for his fanatical anti-gay bigotry. It’s incredible that this man is Acting PM.

    The newspaper is the “Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser,” if you want to find out what he said (all of their stuff is behind a paywall, but there were numerous articles about it in other venues). It’s vile stuff.

  5. Hans Tholstrup says

    The Australians’ drought might be due in part to human induced climate change, and so the massive coal fired Chinese power stations would be partially responsible (coal which the Aussies sold them).
    But the wildfires themselves are actually normal in Australia, and have been occurring for thousands of years. When the fuel load builds up, or arsonists act, or accidental sparks arise -- then there are wildfires.

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