THE NSW BUSHFIRE inquiry has made it clear that climate change was a key factor in the devastating fires that ravaged the state last summer.
“Climate change means that bushfires are now much more dangerous, putting Australian lives and livelihoods at risk. I’m pleased that the inquiry has recognised this,” said Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie.
“This report reinforces the warnings we have heard from scientists over the past 30 years,” said Ms McKenzie.
The report says ‘we should expect to see serious fires more frequently… The trend of more extreme fire seasons and large fires in Australia appears to be part of an emerging trend globally.’
The inquiry also recognised that while hazard reduction is a key tool in managing fires, it has its limitations.
‘It is important to acknowledge and plan for the likely eventuality that worse fire seasons may make hazard reduction, especially prescribed burning, increasingly less effective,’ said the report.
“The conditions last summer were horrific, worse than anything I’ve seen in almost 50 years of fighting fires. I saw flames running over mown grass. On days of catastrophic and extreme fire danger, hazard reduction makes no difference at all,” said Climate Councillor and former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins.
“We must rapidly phase out the burning of coal, oil and gas which is driving more dangerous fires. There can be no new fossil fuel projects. Santos’ proposed Narrabri gas project must be stopped if we are to keep Australians safe,” said Mr Mullins.
“We must accelerate the transition to renewable energy and storage. It’s good to see that all the states and territories now have net zero emissions targets. The Federal Government must follow their lead,” said Ms McKenzie.