February 10, 2009
The disaster challenges the Government to accept evident truths.
IT IS only a couple of years since scientists first told us we could
expect a whole new order of fires in south-eastern Australia, fires of
such ferocity they would simply engulf the towns in their path. And here
The fires we saw on Saturday were not "once in a thousand years" or even
"once in a hundred years" events, as our political leaders keep
repeating. They were the face of climate change in our part of the world.
These fires are simply the result of the new conditions that climate
change has introduced here: raised temperatures, giving us hotter days
than we have ever experienced before combined with lower rainfall giving
us a drier landscape. Let's stop using the word "drought", with its
implication that dry weather is the exception. The desiccation of the
landscape here is the new reality. It is now our climate.