On closing the window…

20/10/2013 — 2 Comments

Hunter fires viewed from The Hill 2013 (Image source: Matthew Squair)

Why saying the wrong thing at the wrong time is sometimes necessary

The Green’s senator Adam Bandt has kicked up a storm of controversy amongst the running dogs of the press after pointing out in this Guardian article that climate change means a greater frequency of bad heat waves which means in turn a greater frequency of bad bush fires. Read the article if you have a moment, I liked his invoking the shade of Ronald Reagan to judge the current government especially. 

Of course the defenders of the status quo have risen up in righteous indignation, ‘how insensitive’, ‘making political points’ etc etc, but in reality this is a moment of perfect political capital in which a harsh lesson can be rammed home, that climate change means more people will die in heat-waves and bush fires not in some third world far away place but right here in your suburb. This is what the CSIRO meant went it pointed out that we are the most vulnerable to climate change of all the developed nations, think of us as the canary in the global coal mine.

The critical point about this is of course that there’s a small ‘window of opportunity’ in the aftermath of events, such as we’ve gone through in the Hunter this week, to effect changes in public attitudes. Although if our previous performance as a not so clever country is anything to go by we’ll probably squander this one as well.

2 responses to On closing the window…

  1. 
    Mike Flannery 21/10/2013 at 5:59 pm

    I suspect that bush fires and other evidence of climate change has been occurring on a continuum for many thousands of years. Until now, there haven’t been substantial quantities of humans in densely packed enclaves to be affected by them. Now is as good a time as any to point out the effects of such changes in climate and the impacts that are now being experienced.
    However, unless places like Las Vegas, Beijing, London and Houston start experiencing first hand the same impacts as are currently taking place in New South Wales, there will not be any willingness to take the necessary steps to start the process of de-carbonisation of the planet.
    A big subject and one fraught with difficulties for all concerned. We all hope on behalf of those involved for a change in the wind and weather.

    • 
      Matthew Squair 21/10/2013 at 6:53 pm

      We have a great term in Oz, the ‘urban-bush interface’, it’s a high bandwidth one…

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