Act on climate change to protect NSW from worsening bushfires: Emergency Leaders

Climate Media Centre

Act on climate change to protect NSW from worsening bushfires: Emergency Leaders for Climate Action

Rising emissions and climate change are worsening bushfire danger, said the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action today, as fire danger ratings reach the upper end of the scale in northeastern NSW.

“Even though we are in the expected bushfire season for the state, the severity, intensity, and number of fires burning in NSW right now is not normal,” said Emergency Leaders for Climate Action member Ken Thompson, former Deputy Commissioner, NSW Fire and Rescue.

“We have fire seasons now starting in winter, and ending in the autumn—firefighters are working for longer, in more dangerous conditions. Climate-fuelled worsening bushfire danger is exposing these brave men and women to more physical and mental health risks.

“Communities are also suffering under the strain of higher fire danger, living with the fearful prospect of a bushfire for more months of the year. Having to evacuate, or worse, losing your home to a bushfire can be frightening and traumatic.

“Our State and Federal governments should be listening to scientists and firefighters, and reducing emissions to curb climate change and keep people safe.

“Instead, while the state burns, the NSW government is weakening legislation around approving new coal mines, removing the requirement for consent authorities to consider the downstream greenhouse gas emissions from coal when it is burned.

“This summer is going to be a long and tough one for NSW families, exposing many people to greater bushfire danger and extreme weather. Our policymakers should be protecting people by doing something about climate change, not protecting the profits of coal companies,” said Mr Thompson.

/Public Release.