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Australian Bushfires

redbaron

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(initially posted in random thoughts thread, realised it was too extensive to contain there.)

So far:

500 million animals have been killed

over 5 million hectares have burned (over 6x the amount of area that the california wildfires have burned)

air quality is amongst the worst in the world in Sydney (if not actual worst?)

fire season still has another 2-3 months left to go

100s of kilometres of coastline cities don't have potable water and need to boil it because of contamination due to fire - there is no failsafe or governing body that regulates this in a time of crisis, or that has ever been put in place: so people are literally communicating this information on Twitter, trying to reach as many people as they possibly can to let them know to not risk drinking unsafe water as their supply has been contaminated potentially with toxic chemicals. it's not even known if boiling it will make it safe

our current government in power is made up of religious fundamentalists who deny that climate change actually occurs, or that we need to have better preparation and responses to bushfires

majority of the media in the country is murdoch-owned, so instead of holding our right-wing religious fundamentalist, climate denying, inactive government accountable: they're busy running smear campaigns against the people who speak out against government and call for real change to act

the CSIRO (australia's national science organisation) has been publishing studies demonstrating that climate change will lead to fire seasons of increasing severity and duration for almost 3 decades. a previous government (roughly centre-left) introduced a carbon trading emissions scheme, which reduced carbon emissions in the country: and then was removed ASAP as soon as said climate-denial fundy govt. came to power a few years later.

more recently in our latest elections, one party had an extensive and well outlined proposal to increase our firefighting capacity and to tackle climate change: both locally and globally. oops, they didn't get voted in (what a surprise!)

since then they have increasingly removed citizen's rights and sought to censor the population. seeking to make protesting illegal, looking to charge whistleblowers with a crime and to impose the right for religious medical practitioners to deny care to those that do not share their faith.

our current PM declined to meet with multiple ex-fire chiefs who were all extremely worried about this upcoming fire season (on the basis of meteorological data and an ever-increasing mountain of scientific evidence of the effects of climate change on the severity of our fire seasons) and instead fucked off for a holiday

of course, murdoch media try to somehow blame a state premier for also being on holiday (even though in her same state, she had increased funding to fire prevention and containment services, and had an extra 50 fully trained firefighters along with extra equipment ready to deploy - and also, no fire in her state ((bear in mind that during fire season, there are always fires!)) was considered beyond 'advise' level. that is to say, there was no threat to communities, they were considered under control and there was no indication from weather reports or otherwise that there would be an emergency or that it would be beyond the state's firefighting capacity to contain)

in the meantime, our PM is spending his time and taxpayer money funding propaganda advertisements: and in a link he himself posted which had a length description about supporting our volunteer firefighters with donations: the donation link was actually directing funds to his political party. it was taken down after significant backlash for the trickery, but no comment on whether the funds the party had received via donations will be redirected to volunteer firefighters

despite this being the worst case of bushfires in national history, the PM refuses to declare a national emergency. what this means is that volunteer firefighters who rely on payments via the welfare system to support them/their families while they are taking months off their jobs (normally a volunteer firefighter would expect to take a week or so during a season, just in their local area) they are actually having their pay DOCKED - because they are not fulfilling their 'work requirements' in this period. if he were to declare a national emergency (as he rightly should anyway) then these volunteer firefighters who are going above and beyond to defend people's livelihood from the fires, would actually be receiving the funds they need and their families need to survive

oh and riot police dispersing teenagers who are peacefully protesting is always a fun thing to have in your country too.

also our government is set to spend $4.4B on subsidies for further fossil fuel development in the country (further increasing our emissions)

i have to fact check the next number, but apparently spends $29B per year in subsidies to fossil fuel industry as well. unclear if $29B per year, or last year, or total for the duration of a fiscal year at some point - or multiple years. just saw the report on it and have to investigate. in any case, whatever it is: our government has spent an absolute fuckload of money to subsidise fossil fuel industries while making zero effort whatsoever to move us toward other forms of energy generation

(despite the fact that again, our CSIRO has published a large number of studies spanning decades on the suitability of alternative sources for a significant portion of our power demands, both now and into the far future)

these fires are terrible, but the majority of these problems are not new to Australia either. we've been well on the road toward a classist, fascist dystopia for the better part of two decades for quite a while now. these fires are simply removing the band-aid that has been repeatedly slapped over the problems, while the murdoch-based media gloss over them and spend all their time stonewalling and smearing people who actually have evidence-based positions and aren't climate change deniers

good times
 

Cognisant

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Absolutely phenomenal summary, cannot praise this enough.

There's going to be a nation wide protest on Friday, people are petitioning the Queen to have Scummo removed from office.
 

Happy

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Great summary @redbaron

Can confirm it’s been apocalyptic for nearly 2 months now. You know it’s bad when you can stare at the sun in the middle of the day. One day in my area, we had an air quality index (AQI) of >2500. ‘Hazardous’ levels are >200. Yes, you’re reading that correctly, and I’m the city, so not even that close to the fires.

@Cognisant I didn’t know the queen is being petitioned. That’s epic. If our country’s leader can’t handle some fires, how is he going to handle something like a war...

(I’d write more, but I don’t currently have use of my hand, so this is a bit laborious.)
 

Cognisant

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@Cognisant I didn’t know the queen is being petitioned. That’s epic. If our country’s leader can’t handle some fires, how is he going to handle something like a war...
On paper we're still technically a UK colony, the Governor-General is our commander-in-chief so if there's a war between the Queen and Scummo it's going to be very short as I doubt the Australian army will turn-coat on Scummo's behalf.

In terms of actual political power I don't think the Queen can outright claim power over Australia but she certainly has sway, a scathing public address would destroy his political career and be a black mark on anyone associated with him. Needless to say the LNP would waste no time replacing him if the Queen expressed the slightest discontentment as a lot of conservatives are very pro-monarchy.

Ultimately whoever's actually in charge is a decision made by the fickle whims of the Australian public, having an unpopular prime minister removed could win a lot of hearts and minds for the Queen both in Australia and the Commonwealth at large so her people will likely pay very close attention to the upcoming protests.
 

Puffy

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I don't have time to write anything lengthy as I'm at work. But thank you for this summary and sharing this information, redbaron. Australian members of this forum have been on my thoughts a lot lately as the few people I know on this continent. I'm quite grateful to have had the opportunity to experience the beauty of this place thanks to those of you there. If there are any ways I can help, such as donation to a relevant organisation (I'd trust your opinion which is most appropriate), I'm happy to and to ask others I know to do so as well. I hope you all keep well and safe.
 

Ex-User (14663)

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before this is exploited by do-gooder politicians, hollywood stars, and a certain girl from sweden who is yet to learn the 9x9 multiplication table, I want to see conclusive evidence that this was caused by CO2 emissions.

edit: k I looked at the daily max temperature in australia, not gonna deny it's been trending upward

4969


edit2: jeez and the rainfall is going down pretty significantly
4970
 

Hadoblado

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What level of proof do you think you need?
 

redbaron

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At this point climate denial is not so much a political bias as it is outright conspiracy theory.
 

redbaron

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yesterday there was a misinformation attack (wierdest words to type in sequence) where a bunch of bot and troll accounts, but unfortunately also real people retweeted the idea of arson being the primary cause for the fires, based off a false interpretation of a police report

~200 people had been arrested for breaching the rule of a total fire ban. this includes things like discarding a cigarette after finishing it. these 200 people did not all start fires, this is simply a tracking of arrests related to breaking the law. not all were charged, few, if any were charged with arson

if you do happen to on social media and see hashtags like #arson and whatnot, don't retweet them and report the tweet.


more info here

haven't checked affiliations of where and how this nonsense started but willing to bet that murdoch media will be perpetuating and making this one of their misinformation talking points

also, the environmental conditions in australia right now are not the result of arson. even if some fires are begun by arsonists (because it does happen) their intensity, size and duration are the result of environmental effects. shifting the discussion onto this is nothing but a distraction tactic from murdoch media and (potentially paid) trolls
 

cheese

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The Gopher

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before this is exploited by do-gooder politicians, hollywood stars, and a certain girl from sweden who is yet to learn the 9x9 multiplication table, I want to see conclusive evidence that this was caused by CO2 emissions.

edit: k I looked at the daily max temperature in australia, not gonna deny it's been trending upward

View attachment 4969

edit2: jeez and the rainfall is going down pretty significantly
View attachment 4970


Do you want to know the bad part? It's not that the world is on fire right now down here. Bushfires are supposed to happen down here, kill a few trees, then they regrow, create rain, then a few years later the fires come back around to them and that's the basic cycle. However... the issue is with the heat trending up the last few years it's caused worse bush fires. These worse bush fires have killed off more trees than they are supposed to. Which means there's less rain the next year, which means a worse (and sooner in the same place) bush-fire, which results in more trees dead and less rain.

All the rain that gets dumped over east Australia is actually useless for the cycle it's important the places west that now have no trees now get rain which is less and less likely to happen.

There's actually nothing Scot Morry can do to change the last 10-20 years of environmental policy and management and reverse this however the issue is he is pissing people off by being retarded about it so there's that too.

It's also a global issue. If Australia was to right now remove 100% of their climate emissions it wouldn't matter. China adds an Australia worth of emissions every few months. That said it would still be slightly better so may as well do it but...
 

redbaron

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Yeah deforestation is also to blame for these problems. There's been over 11,000 signatures as of last year from scientists around the world to expand the definitions we use to refer to climate change beyond average surface temperatures because while important, undersells how important so many other factors and indicators are.
 

Elen

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And now rains and possible flash flooding? I imagine the sudden downpour might be good for putting out fires but might break up dead trees and wash away landscape causing even more ecological damage.

Also, yeah temps have been trending up.
 

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redbaron

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And now rains and possible flash flooding? I imagine the sudden downpour might be good for putting out fires but might break up dead trees and wash away landscape causing even more ecological damage.

unfortunately yeah it's a double edged sword

the amount of area burned by the bushfires is crazy, basically an entire continent caught fire (and more still.to come in the coming months probably. not out of threat until later in March usually) and heavy downpour is set to pose another public safety/health risk

some water reservoirs have already been damaged in the fires and are likely to be compromised during heavy rains

don't even get me started on how woefully inadequate our government's response has been
 

Elen

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That gave me a perspective on how big the spread was. (As of January at least)

I watched Tracks recently. It is a movie based on Robyn Davidson's walk across Australia. (How irritating is Adam Driver's character in that movie? I identified with Robyn on a soul deep level about Rick's interruptions.) and it probably sounds stupid but having never been to Australia overlaying her trek with the fire spread map helped give me a sense of scale. And how totally screwed the folks in more isolated regions were/are.
 

Happy

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E2595E83-34AF-41BD-86F4-FEC0D203DFE7.png
 

Cognisant

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So uh yeah those flood-benders eh? You're just getting used to everything being on fire and your HEPA filter mask just arrived in the mail and BAM! It's floatie time, and if you think that's odd wait until tomorrow when someone tells you we haven't had any rain for six years, it's a madhouse out there I tell ya.
 
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