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Australia Bushfires – Is Blaming Greens a Conspiracy Theory?

 

About 60,000 km² of forest area and farmland has been burned to a crisp so far in what are probably the most devastating wildfires in Australia’s recent history. Hundreds of thousands of farm animals have died in the blazes, dozens of people have been killed, many are missing and it’s estimated that a total of nearly half a billion wild animals have died. Entire ecosystems have been razed, even down to the microbes in the soil. It will take many, many years for the forests to recover, assuming they do.

Completely without shame, remorse or self awareness, not to mention ‘evidence’ (Gaia forbid that climate fanatics should ever be required to produce evidence!) Greens and climate activists have leapt upon this human and environmental tragedy to claim that it is a manifestation of the ‘climate crisis’. The Brighton Belle, Lucas the Loony herself, has waded in in typical fashion:

She is very much not alone and it would just be a nauseating, pointless, bile-inducing exercise to provide more examples. The message coming from the Greens and climate activists and their apologists and closet (and not so closet) admirers in the media, in politics and in the scientific community is loud and clear: the catastrophic Australian bushfires are basically down to the climate emergency/climate crisis/climate change. Not arson, not poor land management, not the weather. I intend to look closely at all the factors which may have played a part in these bushfires, but let’s start off with a look at what role (if any) land management policies played in the tragedy. Richard Betts, of the Met Office, when confronted with the suggestion that it was the build up of dried brushwood on the forest floor which contributed to the intensity and spread of the fires, responded by saying that theory was a “popular conspiracy”.

He links to a tweet by Mike Hansen to justify this assertion. Mike Hansen links to a document issued by New South Wales talking about its enhanced bushfire management program where it brags about ‘supporting’ a program of hazard treating 135,000 hectares of bushland on average each year. This, it says, is an ‘increase’, hence the aphorism ‘enhanced’ This is what Richard thinks is a rebuttal of claims that Green policies have resulted in a build up of fuel. The Graun takes up the ‘conspiracy theory’ meme today and proudly explains that NSW have exceeded their targeted hazard treatment in 2018-19:

In the last full fire season of 2018 and 2019, the National Parks and Wildlife Service in NSW told Guardian Australia it carried out hazard reduction activities across more than 139,000 hectares, slightly above its target.

According to the Graun, ‘experts’ have debunked the conspiracy theory that Greens are responsible for the build up of dangerous fuel loads. One of those ‘experts’ is quoted:

Prof David Bowman, the director of the fire centre research hub at the University of Tasmania, said: “It’s ridiculous. To frame this as an issue of hazard reduction in national parks is just lazy political rhetoric.”

Betts links to the Graun also in order to further justify his claim that it’s all a conspiracy theory and another ‘expert’ at the Graun is further quoted:

The claim of a conspiracy by environmentalists to block hazard reduction activities has been roundly rejected by bushfire experts, and experts say it is betrayed by hard data on actual hazard reduction activities in national parks.

Prof Ross Bradstock, the director of the centre for environmental risk management of bushfires at the University of Wollongong, has previously told Guardian Australia: “These are very tired and very old conspiracy theories that get a run after most major fires. They’ve been extensively dealt with in many inquiries.”

So let’s examine the ‘cold hard data’ shall we? NSW claims:

Since the start of the EBMP in 2011:

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has carried out hazard reduction burns covering more than 680,000 hectares on NSW parks and reserves. This is more than double the previous 5-year total.

8 years. That’s an average of 85,000 hectares per year. This falls way short of their claimed target of 135,000 hectares per year. But hey, in 2018-19, they exceed their target of 135,000 by 4000 hectares according to Graun ‘experts’. So basically, NSW have failed miserably to support even their own target as outlined in their ‘enhanced’ bush management program, except in 2018-19.

But what does their actual targeted burn represent? Well, if we consider that NSW has over 7 million hectares of national parks and reserves, more than 5 million hectares of national parks alone, then 135,000 hectares represents 1.9% of the total area, 2.7% of the national park area. Their actual burn rate, averaged since 2011 is only 1.2% of the total area, 1.7% of the national parks area.

Now, in 2015, we were reminded by a former CSIRO scientist, David Packham, of the recommendations of the Royal Commission Black Saturday report into the devastating bushfires of 2009 which killed 173 people:

Forest fuel levels have worsened over the past 30 years because of “misguided green ideology”, vested interests, political failure and mismanagement, creating a massive bushfire threat, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist has warned.

Victoria’s “failed fire management policy” is an increasing threat to human life, water supplies, property and the forest environment, David Packham said in a submission to the state’s Inspector-General for Emergency Management.

And he argued that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target, currently at a minimum of 5 per cent of public land, “is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur. The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated.”

The Royal Commission report was fairly unequivocal in its conclusion about the need to hazard treat areas of bush by controlled burning:

The royal commission examined the role of fuel reduction burning and in its final report recommended a prescribed burning program with “an annual rolling target of a minimum of 5 per cent of public land each year, and that the state be held accountable for meeting this target“.

It also criticised what it described as the state’s “minimalist approach to prescribed burning“, and warned that the state had “allowed the forests to continue accumulating excessive fuel loads”.

The commission investigated fuel reduction burning and the Black Saturday fires. It found that the rate of spread and size of the Beechworth-Mudgeegonga fire, which killed two people, “were significantly moderated by previous prescribed burning“. And it said that in some places the rate of spread of the Kilmore East fire, which killed 119 people, was “appreciably slowed by previous prescribed burning“.

But the commission also heard that no large-scale fuel reduction burns had been conducted in areas where the two most deadly Black Saturday fires, the Kilmore East and Murrindindi bushfires, gathered force in the first hours after they ignited.

So, in the case of New South Wales, where bushfires have raged this summer, the authorities have hazard treated, on average, since 2011, less than a quarter of the total parks and reserves area recommended by the Royal Commission Black Saturday report re. the bushfires which occurred in the neighbouring state of Victoria. Their record of prescribed burns, in the 5 years previous to 2011, by their own admission, is even more piteous. Their ‘enhanced burn’ in 2018-19 was less than half of that recommended by the Royal Commission for the state of Victoria. David Packham even appeared to suggest that the 5% Royal Commission target was way too low. Is it a conspiracy then, in light of the above facts and figures, to suggest that NSW have manifestly failed in their duty to ensure the fire safety of public lands under their jurisdiction?

Lest we be lulled into thinking that the problem lies only with New South Wales, consider Victoria, the state which suffered so grievously from the 2009 bushfires, which tragedy led to the commission of the Black Saturday report itself:

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission found that ‘prescribed burning is one of the main tools for fire management on public land,’ however, the DELWP report reveals that the amount of planned burning in bushfire-prone areas such as Cardinia has dropped from 234,614 hectares in 2014-15 to only 64,978 hectares in 2017-18, a reduction of almost 75 per cent under the Andrews Labor Government.

“The 2009 royal commission was unequivocal about the importance of prescribed burning as ‘one of the main tools for fire management on public land,” Mr Battin said.

“That’s why it’s so important for the Andrews Labor Government to be upfront with regional Victorians about the true situation with prescribed burning.

In Queensland, another state which has been devastated by wildfires this summer, we learn of a farmer who was fined nearly a million dollars for simply making his fire-breaks too wide by following the recommendations of the authorities! This is a ludicrous amount. Were the authorities out to make an example of him to others who might similarly be tempted to construct fire-breaks? It seems likely that other farmers will think twice now before clearing forest to protect property and livestock, hence wildfires will spread across the state, unimpeded – and they have. Of course, green apologists will argue that this is merely anecdotal, but there are a hell of a lot more anecdotal tales out there of Greens opposing sensible fire precaution measures.

So it’s looking more like what we have here folks, is that strange phenomenon known as a fact-saturated conspiracy theory.

50 thoughts on “Australia Bushfires – Is Blaming Greens a Conspiracy Theory?

  1. Oddlt, the only claims that meet the definition of ” conspiracy theory” are the 9nes the climate crisis promoters use:
    – fossil fuel industry conspiracy
    – denialist conspiracy
    – etc.
    The fact that arsonists set fires in fuel and debris filled forests yet blaming the fires on CO2 seems more than a bit conspiratorial
    I think Australians need to wake the heck up and drive climate extremists out of power.
    The extremists are the ones pushing destruction, Extinction Rebellion, Greta bs, crazy power prices, deindustrialization, etc.
    Australians either wake up or lose their nation.

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  2. I wouldn’t use air quotes when describing Bowman as an expert. He’s spent a long time studying the subject (and not in the sense we mean when thinking about climate scientists). See:

    Bowman, D. M. (1998). The impact of Aboriginal landscape burning on the Australian biota. The New Phytologist, 140(3), 385-410.

    You can access it via google scholar.

    I don’t think greens are the problem here, in terms of those placard-waving types. There is a lot of complacency around and communities in these fire-prone areas seem surprised when they get hit. They ought not to be. As the Bowman article mentions (possibly quoting an earlier work, can’t remember), westerners seem to see fire solely as a destructive force, whereas the aboriginals relied upon its use. We are reluctant to set small fires to prevent the big fires, and we are hell-bent on putting fires out wherever they spring up.

    Add to that the fact that there are suitable weather conditions for fires every dry season, and a growing human population is penetrating the bush, leading to a direct increase in arson. Yes, fires will be more intense the longer the burning cycle is prolonged. But prescribed burning is not the only answer: firebreaks are one, not putting fires out unless life and property are threatened a second, and not allowing any development in the bush is a third. Even 5% prescribed burn a year leaves a lot of older stands (because in practice, some areas are burnt more frequently than every 20 years, and some areas miss out altogether). Of course, such stands would be separated by younger vegetation, probably impeding fire spread.

    Nor do I believe for a second that the arsonists are dedicated greens, trying to prove their prophecies. I don’t know what motivates arsonists (I have read a bit about it, but can’t say I can truly get inside their heads), but I don’t think they have strategic plans in mind when they set out with their Bic lighters.

    Interesting to contrast the deliberately-set aboriginal fires with the arsonist creations of today.

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  3. Hi Jit, I’m going to leave Bowman’s ‘expert’ status in inverted commas because I’m not that convinced of the quality of his expertise. He allows himself to be quoted in the Guardian in defence of an article which argues that fuel load reduction has not actually decreased and that this is just a ‘conspiracy theory’. Maybe he was meaning that fuel load reduction is not an effective measure to control wildfires, but that’s another issue entirely. Either way, I don’t see much “lazy political rhetoric” coming from those who are critical of Green policies and critical of their response to this immense tragedy.

    Carbon Brief interviewed Bowman re. a study he authored which suggests a global increase in “mega fires” because of climate change.

    Recent research shows that the number of days wildfires are likely to burn each year is increasing as global temperatures rise. And the new study finds that extreme wildfires are likely to become more widespread in future, Bowman says:

    “Climate change projections suggest that the geographic footprint of dangerous fire weather is likely to expand globally.”

    The study projects how the Fire Weather Index (FWI) – an estimate of wildfire risk based on weather conditions and how dry the landscape is – will change across the world in future. They look specifically at the changes in “high” fire danger under a climate change scenario where global CO2 emissions aren’t curbed (RCP8.5).

    Oh dear, yet another supposedly ‘expert’ projection of climate change impacts using a wildly unrealistic worst case emissions scenario and labelling it as ‘no mitigation’ or ‘business as usual’.

    PS. I don’t believe I have suggested that the arsonists are dedicated Greens – only that it would not surprise me if some of them were.

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  4. As a regular visitor to resorts in the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa, I have seen PLANNED burns, and the effect on (mostly) grassland. It is usually necessary to burn, to allow the growth of new grasses for animal feed. But further North, in the Kruger National Park, the controlled burns and their timing are used to distribute the various kinds of animal through the park. Many years ago, I was present at a talk given by a computer scientist who had developed an expert system to allow the Kruger management to plan the burns.
    But when a burn gets out of control…

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  5. “To increase the area treated by prescribed burning on bushfire prone lands from the current level of less than 1% per annum to a minimum of 5% per annum, as recommended by the Victorian Royal Commission and many leading bushfire experts.”

    Mr. Peter Cannon
    President
    VFFA

    2013

    That’s a damn conspiracy that is!

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  6. @ Jaime

    I thought perhaps he was refuting the idea that there had been a decrease in controlled burns, since there weren’t enough anyway.

    But point taken. Air quotes should perhaps be restored. It seems that a lot of scientists lose their critical thinking skills when their subject matter crosses into the realm of climate – which, given the tilt of funding these days, is seemingly inevitable.

    T’other day, in response to a comment at WUWT, I tallied up all the articles with the words “climate change” in that order in the title over the past 40 years. There were 11 such in 1979, “Charney” year; in 2019, there were 13,600. And I cannot help but think that this host of modern work is not really expanding the horizons of human knowledge in a greatly meaningful way.

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  7. Bowman probably is an expert if anyone is. In contrast to the guardian quotation he has for years been urging increased fuel reduction around Hobart and Mt Wellington.

    “The only practical responses to the threat of catastrophic bushfire involves intensely managed use of fire and fuel loads. That is why under extreme conditions fires are banned, and any fire started under such conditions must be stamped on by firefighters before they become uncontrollable.

    Managing fuel loads reduces the intensity of fire, increasing the opportunity for effective firefighting.

    In a very real sense, we need to fight fires at least five years before they start!

    This means modifying forests in the surrounds of Hobart to manage fuel loads and change their structure.”

    https://firecentre.org.au/talking-point-when-will-the-mountain-burn/

    The frustrating thing is that after every major bushfire there is an enquirer that recommends more fuel reduction. The recommendations then get watered down over a few years. Read the auditor general of Queensland’s report 2018. Parks up there have decided to count wildfire as part of the 5% “planned burning”. This obviously saves money, but as the AG points out, by it’s very nature wildfire is not “planned”. A neat bureaucratic evasion of responsibility.

    All that said, the weather can conspire to prevent planned burns. This year we got very little done, because fire restrictions came in before fire would satisfactorily run on our property. However a few hundred metres below us fire restrictions were definitely in order, and this covered us too. I probably could have got a permit, but I don’t like to ask the local volunteer chief to stick his neck out.

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  8. I’d like to add that once a fire is crowning (burning in the heads of trees) there ain’t much to be done. It’s an awe inspiring sight if you happen to see it when you’re not in danger.

    Also: how Australia has changed. In the ‘67 fires in Tasmania anybody able bodied was jumping onto trucks to go and fight fire. Nowadays this is strongly discouraged. I was a kid at school. I remember a five ton Bedford driving up the road summoning volunteers complete with a guy ringing a bell and shouting “the end of the world is nigh”. My dad was fighting on the outskirts of Hobart when a young fella with shoulder length hair got his hair on fire. Another bloke doused him down saying “Here mate, pour a little water on the troubled oil”. This time there have been no jokes reported, just endless blaming.

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  9. Geoff, thanks for your comments based upon personal experience. Always interesting to have the perspective of someone who actually lives in Australia. On the subject of crown fires, I completely agree. Once a crown fire is established, especially in Eucalypt forests, when hot, dry conditions exist and the fire front is fanned by strong winds, there is virtually no hope at all of containing a fire and the existence or not of low level fuel load becomes irrelevant. But, in the first hour or so after a fire is ignited, fuel load is critical as to how fast and how fierce a fire burns, how it spreads, the prospects of controlling it and as to whether heavy fuel load means it transforms into an unstoppable crown fire.

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  10. Chris, thanks for that link. Very informative. I keep noticing apologists saying ‘But Greens have never been in power’ as if this absolves them of any responsibility for greenie influenced policy making.

    But don’t blame greenies. All week they have been claiming they support hazard reduction. Really?

    No matter what legalistic and linguistic ploys are now used to rewrite history, green hostility to proper bushfire management is on the record, from the light-green NIMBYs who object to smoke, to green lobbyists who infiltrate government decision-making, taxpayer-funded green activists who embed themselves in government agencies, the bureaucratic green tape which makes the job of volunteer firefighters so difficult, the green NGOs who strongarm politicians, right up to the political arm of green ideology, The Greens.

    It is true The Greens have developed a new set of “aims” including a caveat-studded “effective and sustainable strategy for fuel-reduction management”.

    In practice, on the ground, it amounts to covert opposition.

    The episode demonstrated how green pressure on decision-makers filters down into a cascade of subtle bureaucratic obstructions which disempower firefighters on the ground and disregard their expertise.

    Blows that argument right out of the water. Excellent. Could not be clearer how green ideology has pervasively infiltrated the entire top-down decision making process.

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  11. Surely not, after Ricky told them not to!

    Tell you what is getting up my nose. Aussies of the twenty to forty age group busy twittering and twattering their wisdom about these fires when they’d look a lot better in a pair of yellow overalls with a hose in their hand. Most of them show a strong affinity for the hose in the hand, so it shouldn’t be that hard, you’d think.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Apparently Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett did, despite Rick Gervais’s excellent comments:

    “So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.

    So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and fuck off, OK? It’s already three hours long. Right, let’s do the first award.”

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  13. They never learn. Paul Hogan was telling them this way back in 1986.

    “Firstly, winners, when you make your speech, it’s a good tip to remember the three Gs: be gracious, be grateful, get off.”

    🙂

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  14. Why are the Greens getting ALL the blame, when it’s just as likely that the blame ought to be more widely spread? (Well if my experience of living in California for several years is anything to go by). I lived in rural Contra Costa County and my property included the tops of hills covered largely by grasses that dried up and turned golden in the summer. The deeds of our house stipulated that we were responsible for removing much of this tinder-dry fuel load each summer to prevent devastating fires. This I duly did, struggling up steep slopes with a newly purchased petrol-powered mowing machine to do my civic duty.. But I noted that not one of my neighbours did the same, so the next year I didn’t bother, nor did I ever again.
    I thought of this last year when parts of Contra Costa County went up in flames. Who would my ex neighbours blame? Greens? Probably climate change.

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  15. They’re not getting all the blame Alan. They’re being blamed for their role in contributing to the severity and spread of these fires. The other two culprits are arsonists and bad weather. No doubt public apathy also played a part.

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  18. Nope. They. Just. Could. Not. Resist.

    Virtue-signaling ignorant, arrogant, privileged, hypocritical, scientifically illiterate lefty morons.

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  19. If it was just Hollywood actors spouting this nonsense, it would be irritating but at least comprehensible. But it’s not, It’s tenured scientists too.

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  20. The Beeb news channels (and following the lead? the other MSM) have now turned everything they can into “lets report every weather related event into a climate disaster story.

    wonder if Siberia gets really cold they will report that!!!

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  21. Climate ‘scientists’ are waging a propaganda war on Twitter to try to convince the public that climate change is the main culprit behind the bushfires in Oz. These are just some of the BS tweets that they have been putting out very recently. It’s essential that their propaganda is countered by the actual facts and it appears the only people who are doing that are people like us here at Cliscep, Paul Homewood of course, Tony Heller, plus probably a few other bloggers and non MSM news outlets. There is not even a formal event attribution of the 2019 drought and heat in Oz, but this hasn’t prevented ‘scientists’ from sharing their low info, low-evidence ‘expert’ opinions on these tragic wildfires.

    While climate change might not ignite the fires, it is giving them the chance to turn into catastrophic blazes by creating warmer temperatures, increasing the amount of fuel (dried vegetation) available and reducing water availability because of higher evaporation, according to Climate Signals.

    “There are many drivers of wildfires, but its increasingly clear that hotter, drier conditions play a big role in making them worse,” said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth, a climate research organization, in a tweet.

    They’re all at it, even Richard Betts.

    Meanwhile, one of the good guys, Roger Pielke Jr,, has a timely and excellent article published on event attribution at Forbes;

    We should therefore be cautious when climate change is associated with individual extreme events through weasel words that imply a connection but in a trivial non-specific way. Such weasel words include claims that a particular extreme event has been — linked or connected or cited (I’m sure you can think of other examples) – in connection with human-caused climate change.

    Of course, the prevalence of weasel words reflects intense political overlay on the association of extreme weather events and climate change.

    The rise of individual “event attribution” studies coincides with frustration that the IPCC has not definitively concluded that many types of extreme weather had become more common.

    The rise of “event attribution” studies offers comfort and support to those focused on climate advocacy by establishing the linkage (weasel word) of specific extreme events and climate change. It it is not clear however that such studies offer much in the way of empirical rigor, particularly as compared to the conventional IPCC detection and attribution framework.

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  22. I may be admitting to being rather dense, but what precisely is the link between higher temperatures and greater risk/intensity of wildfires? I can understand a link between higher temperatures and reduced moisture, but this seems inoperative in the event of a prior drought. Yet repeatedly I am being told that a return to above average temperatures is bad news (unless there is a link between temperatures and windy conditions).

    Re Crown fires: I had a short experience of one in northern Saskatchewan. They are terrifying. The only thing that stops them are the creation of wide enough fire breaks by use of chainsaws or even explosives. As soon as our fire crowned, we “helpers” were bundled out of harms way tout-sweet.

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  23. Also, since I now seem to have escaped the censorious grasp of the spam filter, I would like to convey my bemusement after watching a Channel Five bulletin last night, in which a woman was being interviewed amongst the tragically charred remains of her erstwhile home. Of course, the soundbite was that this was all down to climate change. Nevertheless, a photograph of her house was shown in its pre-bushfire splendour, constructed of wood and set amongst a thicket of trees. That photo, combined with the fact that her house was in a town called ‘Wingello’ (the aborigine for ‘Burning Place’) did rather point to a more complicated causation. If the aborigines saw this coming, perhaps she could have.

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  24. The UNFCC has now gone into full climate change propaganda mode. Global warming is no longer the gradual long term secular increase in global mean surface temperature, it is incremental spikes – in December, in Australia. This means that we must act right now apparently. They’ve provided graphs from BOM and a ridiculous graph made up by activist ‘scientist’ Ed Hawkins. The totally unscrupulous climate alarmist establishment are absolutely determined to milk this tragedy for all its worth. What a disgrace to scientific rigour, common sense and decency they have become.

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  25. Like

  26. When did UNFCCC jump onto the #globalheating bandwagon?

    What is the point of these pronouncements? Not to convince sceptics, such strident language can have no role there. Perhaps though it might incline us to shut up, lest we get attacked, making climate scepticism in 2020 as unwise to admit to as atheism in Britain in 1840.

    Perhaps also it puts pressure on the already converted to deliver more ambitions plans, to the benefit of a few and to the cost of many.

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  27. John R, did you mean this TV report on the fires in Wingello?

    Google Earth’s earliest satpic of the featured house is from 2010. As with all later satpix, the house was barely visible, so close were the surrounding trees.

    It’d be interesting to know if the two nearest houses (131 and 135 Forest Road) survived the fires. One has long been surrounded by open ground and the other is near mature trees but only on one side.

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/133+Forest+Rd,+Wingello+NSW+2579,+Australia/@-34.7011227,150.1688907,79m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x6b13f4f71c97eb5d:0x28f22072c3da663f!8m2!3d-34.7012423!4d150.1684825

    Incidentally, the featured house was formerly owned by an eco-consultant specialising in the management of woodlands. He now lives in a mud-brick house in a town whose name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘water lilies’. Both choices – materials and location – seem more sensible than living in a wooden house in a town whose name means ‘burning’ but only if wildfires are the only threat. The eco-consultant’s new town (Araluen) has always suffered from flooding.

    Perhaps he should sell his new mud-brick house to gullible incomers and move to one made of steel – hopefully not in an area that turns out to have been famous amongst Aboriginals for lightning disasters.

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  28. UNFCC seems to have forgotten what the definition of the word ‘climate’ is.
    “Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years”.

    This is in itself a very arbitrary definition. From: Phil Jones
    To: “Parker, David (Met Office)” , Neil Plummer

    Subject: RE: Fwd: Monthly CLIMATbulletins
    Date: Thu Jan 6 08:54:58 2005
    Cc: “Thomas C Peterson”

    Neil,
    Just to reiterate David’s points, I’m hoping that IPCC will stick with 1961-90. The issue of confusing users/media with new anomalies from a different base period is the key one in my mind. Arguments about the 1990s being better observed than the 1960s don’t hold too much water with me. There is some discussion of going to 1981-2000 to help the modelling chapters.

    If we do this it will be a bit of a bodge as it will be hard to do things properly for the surface temp and precip as we’d lose loads of stations with long records that would then have incomplete normals. If we do we will likely achieve it by re-zeroing series and maps in an ad hoc way.

    There won’t be any move by IPCC to go for 1971-2000, as it won’t help with satellite series or the models. 1981-2000 helps with MSU series and the much better Reanalyses and also globally-complete
    SST.

    20 years (1981-2000) isn’t 30 years, but the rationale for 30 years isn’t that compelling. The original argument was for 35 years around 1900 because Bruckner found 35 cycles in some west Russian
    lakes (hence periods like 1881-1915). This went to 30 as it easier to compute. Personally I don’t want to change the base period till after I retire !
    Cheers
    Phil

    05/01/2005, Parker, David (Met Office) wrote:

    Neil
    There is a preference in the atmospheric observations chapter of IPCC AR4 to stay with the 1961-1990 normals. This is partly because a change of normals confuses users, e.g. anomalies will seem less positive than before if we change to newer normals, so the impression of global warming will be muted.

    Statements from Uncertainty in Climate Modelling ECLAT 2 1998-2001

    Click to access ew-2_full.pdf

    “Projecting the future state(s) of the world with respect to demographic, economic, social, and technological developments at a time scale consistent with climate change projections is a daunting task, some even consider as straightforward impossible.

    Over a century time scale, current states and trends simply cannot be extrapolated. The only certainty is that the future will not be just more of the same of today, but will entail numerous surprises, novelties and discontinuities.

    The probability of occurrence of long-term trends is inversely proportional to the ‘expert’ consensus.
    Excessive self-cite and “benchmarking” of modeling studies to existing scenarios creates the danger of artificially constructing “expert consensus”.

    In the presence of multi-decadal climate variability a thirty-year mean may provide an incorrect estimate of the longer-term average climate.”

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  29. Surprisingly, there’s an article in support of planned burns at the Con

    https://theconversation.com/theres-only-one-way-to-make-bushfires-less-powerful-take-out-the-stuff-that-burns-129323

    “As monstrous blazes overwhelm Australia’s south-east, the need for a national bushfire policy has never been more urgent. Active land management such as hazard-reduction burning and forest thinning must lie at the core of any such policy.

    Done well, controlled burning limits a bushfire’s spread and makes suppression easier, by reducing the amount of flammable material. Clearing or thinning vegetation on roadsides and other areas also helps maintain fuel breaks, allowing firefighters access to forests in an emergency.”

    (Of course, they also have 57 other articles saying it’s all about the climate crisis).

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  30. Dr Roy Spencer points out that in the 1974-75 bushfire season, massively more hectares were burned than so far during this season, so I take back my statement that these are probably the most devastating bushfires in recent history. Spencer’s source, Wiki, shows that a total of nearly 106 million hectares burned! Contrast that with the figure so far for 2019/20 of 10.7 million. This means that 10 times as much land burned in 1974/75! My God, I never knew that. Did they blame climate change back then? Perhaps much more grassland burned back then, I don’t know, but it’s an absolutely astounding amount.

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  32. This is a long, but very illuminating thread from journalist Miranda Devine which exposes the rank hypocrisy of the greens and reveals their consistent opposition to sensible land management as well as their weasely attempts more recently to claim that they do not oppose controlled burns or clearing.

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  33. @ Jaime

    Thanks, interesting – the link at Roy Spencer’s to the 1995 Australian Yearbook is kinda a pre-emptive rebuke to those who say it’s climate change.

    Thanks also for reminding me why I like to avoid Twitter; hell seems to be well approximated by half an hour locked in a room with the contributors to a Twitter thread.

    To those blaming the fires on Australia’s climate policy, perhaps should be addressed this question: How much cooler would the climate be if Australia was deleted from the face of the Earth? I get an answer of 5 hundredths of a degree, but that is very much ballpark…

    Liked by 1 person

  34. It is interesting and more than a little instructive that the climate “denier” Tony Abbott is putting in the hard yards as a volunteer firefighter while all the Green politicians are posturing. I know which one’s judgement I would trust.

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  35. Pingback: Lew’s Philosophy (1) | Climate Scepticism

  36. Your article is very good at pointing out the lack of controlled burns. There was also a strongly positive IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole). This is known, and admitted even by the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, to lead to dry and warm conditions for Australia. The IOD event was also one of the most strongly positive on record. In the top 3 in the past 50 years or so. Australia, over the last 50 years, has also been wetting than the 50 years prior. What would happen if Australia returned to the rain levels seen int he first part of the twentieth century. Proof of the climate emergency?

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  37. I suppose this also is evidence that blaming Greens for letting fuel loads build up to dangerous levels is a conspiracy?

    When bushfire management passed from local control to government bureaucracies, the political influence of the green movement virtually stopped the off-season burnoffs. This traditional practice dated back to the black man and his firestick management of the landscape. The European settlers adopted it, as did farmers and local grassroots volunteer firefighters.

    In researching my bushfire book White Overall Days, I found that our local brigade averaged some 15 burnoffs per year in the decade of the 1970s; nine in the ’80s, a mere two or three in the ’90s and similar numbers ever since.

    The reason for this dramatic fall-off in burnoffs was the complex web of rules and procedures dumped on the local captains to comply with before they could do anything. They simply gave up. It was all too hard.

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