Hot dry conditions sparked an early start to fire season in Australia and people are demanding more climate action from the federal government that has refused to acknowledge the seriousness of the crisis. As the situation continues to worsen, protests have broken out across the country, however, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is has made it clear that he will not get serious about climate action.
Australia is suffering from record breaking heat and the worst wildfires in 35 years. As many as 500 million animals have been killed, more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed and 4.86 million hectares (12 million acres) have burned. While Aussies are used to the heat, what we have seen this December is extreme. A new December heat record was set for the state of Victoria when Hopetoun broke the old record with temperatures approaching 48C. Nationally Australia broke consecutive heat records in December with temperatures across the country averaging 44.9 degrees Celsius (107.4 degrees Fahrenheit). This prompted Navigant's Kees van der Leun to tweet: "I think this is the single loudest alarm bell I've ever heard on global heating," added van der Leun. "Red lights flashing all over. Politicians not taking this as a call for climate action will probably never act at all."
This is among the hottest heat waves on record in Australia. Despite these extreme temperatures and widespread wildfires the Australian government refuses to act. "The government needs to open their eyes and see through the smoke," Anthony Albanese, leader of Australia's Labour Party told reporters. "Bushfires are threatening homes and communities. This is a national crisis. We need a national response".
The ruling Liberal government has made it clear that they are more interested in finding markets for their massive coal reserves that exacerbate global warming than they are in engaging in climate action.
Governments Engaging in Climate Denial While Suffering the Effects of Climate Change