In 2020, two things cannot be true at the same time.
Every event, the internet would have us believe, has just one cause and one effect. Our opinions about that event must be simplified into a concise sentence, so as not to waste anyone’s time.
But natural disasters, along with politics and statistics, tend to be a little more complicated than that.
To start with, we know that climate change, the result of excessive greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere, has been a major contributor to the 2019/2020 bushfire season, which has seen the death of 25 people, half a billion animals, and the loss of thousands of homes.
Good Morning Britain blasts response of the Australian government to catastrophic bushfires. Post continues below.
If it were not for 2019 being the hottest and driest year on record in Australia, with more than 98 per cent of NSW in drought, the bushfire season would not be so catastrophic.
In December, Australia hit its highest ever recorded temperature two days in a row, with the nation’s average maximum temperature reaching 40.7C one day and then 41.9C the next. The previous record was 40.3C.
These temperatures were in line with the upward trajectory of Australian weather patterns, which have been, objectively, climbing dramatically since 1910.
This year, widespread drought, higher than average temperatures, exceptionally dry bush and soil intersected with strong westerly winds driven by a negative South Annular (which, according to various scientists, is made worse by “human-induced climate change“) produced the perfect environment for bushfires.
But these things don’t necessarily start a fire. They just make the fire near impossible to put out.
As the climate debate has reared its head during the bushfire disaster, some have searched far and wide for a counter-narrative. After all, it would be convenient to point the finger at a few bad apples, rather than accept that the climate crisis is on all of us, and we need nothing less than a revolution to address it.