THE BUSHFIRE ROYAL COMMISSION officially gets underway today and the Climate Council welcomes the fact it will explore the role of climate change in the unprecedented 2019-20 bushfires.
“Climate change and how it is driving extreme weather must be a central part of the Royal Commission. Climate change was the main driver of the catastrophic fire dangers we experienced that destroyed so many Australian lives and livelihoods,” said Climate Councillor Greg Mullins.
“I’ve been fighting fires for decades and there has never before been a season like the one we just experienced. Australia is incredibly vulnerable to worsening climate change threats and we need to be better prepared,” he said.
Mr Mullins will be making a submission to the Royal Commission on behalf of ELCA - Emergency Leaders for Climate Action - a group of retired fire chiefs and emergency leaders from every state and territory.
“It was only a few months ago that fires were fiercely burning across the country, endangering lives, homes, livelihoods, communities, wildlife and the economy,” said Climate Councillor Professor Lesley Hughes.
“Despite the current threat of the coronavirus pandemic, we must not lose sight of the urgency of climate change,” said Professor Hughes.
“The threat of fires in Australia is almost year-round now as a result of climate change. Last year fires began in winter and now, in autumn, we are seeing severe fire danger ratings in the Adelaide Hills, with a total fire ban being put in place this week,” said Mr Mullins.
“Much like our response to the current global pandemic, we must listen to the scientists, we must work together and we must act before it is too late,” said Professor Hughes.