Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Climate blindness at the bushfires royal commission

My response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission interim report was published today on ABC Unleashed. In the article I argue that the interim report was a missed opportunity to consider stronger climate policy as a means of long-term bushfire prevention. Had the Royal Commission recommended that Australia's climate policies be assessed for the impact on global bushfire risk, it might well have influenced the policy position we take to Copenhagen and show leadership towards a stronger post-Kyoto climate treaty. That in turn would reduce Australian bushfire risk over time.

While the Royal Commission will look at climate change in the next phase of the inquiry, any recommendations in its July 2010 final report will be well and truly too late for Copenhagen. An analysis of climate policy and recommendations to strengthen it were therefore urgent tasks for the royal commission before the next fire season, and should have been accommodated within the terms of reference. While such action would not influence that fire season, it may well have impacted on fire seasons to come. Unfortunately the opportunity to consider climate in a timely and urgent manner has been squandered through climate blindness.

For more on climate change and the 2009 Victorian bushfires, click on the links under the masthead of this page. Comments are welcome.

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Comments are most welcome on any of the posts at Northcote Independent. I encourage feedback - positive or negative. Feel free to disagree, but remember that posts are moderated to ensure they are on the topic and in the spirit of open debate, as outlined in my editorial policy.