Global study shows climate change a huge factor in Black Summer bushfires

SYDNEY, March 5 2020 - Climate change is driving longer, hotter, more severe bushfire seasons in Australia, groundbreaking international research from World Weather Attribution published today shows.

The report, an attribution analysis to assess the role of climate change in the 2019-20 bushfires in Australia, has also found the risk of dangerous fire conditions has been steadily increasing since 1979, and is more than four times more likely today than in 1900. 

“While the memories of scorched koalas are still so fresh in our minds, this report is yet another example of how climate change is causing longer, hotter, more extreme bushfire seasons,” said Dr Nikola Casule, Head of Research and Investigations at Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

“Climate change is primarily driven by the burning of coal, oil and gas, so in order to keep Australian families safe from the worsening impacts of the climate crisis, the Federal Government must urgently commit Australia to 100% renewable energy.”

The report adds that if global warming hits 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, conditions like the ones Australia experienced over the summer would be far more likely than today.

“People in New South Wales and Victoria are still unable to return to their homes and the viability of entire towns is in question. In the wake of one of the biggest climate disasters our country has ever seen, what Australian communities need now is strong leadership on phasing out coal, oil and gas: the primary cause of climate change.”

“The Federal Government’s plan to deal with climate change is to burn more fossil fuels and give public money to ageing coal-fired power stations, instead of taking positive action to reduce emissions and supercharge renewables.”

“Huge global economies like Germany and the United Kingdom are already well on their way in making the transition to a strong, renewable-powered economy, leaving the Australian Federal Government lagging behind.”

World Weather Attribution is part of a research network that includes the University of Oxford, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, University of Melbourne, and the Red Cross.

For more information please contact Communications Manager Nelli Stevenson on 0481 303 815 or email [email protected]