In supporting this motion we express our sympathies to everyone who has lost lives, homes, property and livestock to fires this summer. We also mourn the damage done to the World Heritage alpine areas of Tasmania and are enormously grateful to the people who put their own lives at risk fighting these fires. But the issue of bushfires is more complex than suggested in this motion. How severe fires are depends not just on fuel, but also, critically, on the dryness of our forests and grasslands and how extreme the temperatures and winds are. Increasingly, severe fires and the longer fire seasons that we are experiencing are consistent with the drier and hotter conditions that are already occurring and are expected to continue to increase in severity because of global warming. This underlines the urgency of reducing our use and mining of coal, gas and oil. Protecting people, homes, property and our precious natural heritage in a hotter, drier climate is a massive challenge. It is not going to be met by relying on simplistic solutions of more planned burns. We welcome the call for greater research, including acknowledging the contribution of climate change in determining how we respond.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016