G’day friends of A Rational Fear,
The 2019/2020 summer bushfire crisis has been stressful for Australians everywhere. Not knowing what to do in times like this can be paralysing. Even if you can’t hold a hose it’s important to do what you can, not matter what your skills are. So with some extremely talented people, A Rational Fear presents: Who is responsible for the Australian Bushfire Crisis?
Big thanks to everyone who came on board to make this happen over the last 3 weeks. Especially Kara Schlegl who is one of Australia’s most erudite writers. She has written an introduction to the video and included all of her research below.
Researched and Compiled by Kara Eva Schlegl
Additional research and fact checking: Simon Holmes à Court
Special thanks to Dan Ilic, Alex Gabbott, Maria Yanovsky, Ena Markovic, Matt Perrott, James Colley, Scott Ludlam, Tim Minchin, Simon & Katrina Holmes à Court & Dick Smith.
I was driving home at 3am, after my team and I finalised the edit of this video, and a government ad came on the radio advising that extreme water restrictions are now in place, due to the severe drought currently afflicting NSW.
I don’t know about you, but I’m furious. Furious that we are governed by people who will instruct us to have shorter showers, and at the same time, will allow Australia’s mining sector to consume over 20% of our freshwater supply every single year.
I’m furious that our government will pour billions of dollars into the mining sector, but refuses to pay even minimum wage to the firefighters who put their lives on the line for us every bushfire season.
In December 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison ran a campaign of deflection, telling the Australian people that the unprecedented bushfire crisis raging across the country had nothing to do with his government’s inaction on climate change, saying that emissions reductions in Australia won’t make a difference to the climate.
The truth is, taking action on climate change isn’t limited to emissions reduction. Taking action means heeding the warnings, and investing time, money and influence into preventing the worst from happening, and preparing our country for oncoming disasters.
Our governments didn’t take action on climate change, and now, in the words of NSW RFS Firefighter Darin Sullivan, ‘we’ve gotta deal with it’.
I hope this document, and the video it accompanies, gives us a better understanding of the circumstances that led to the 2019 - 2020 bushfire crisis, and inspires us to help prevent it from happening again.
Research & References
The Link Between Climate Change and Bushfires
The Garnaut Climate Change Review; Final Report, Ross Garnaut, 2008
CSIRO Bushfire Research, 2020
The Facts About Climate Change and Bushfires, Climate Council, 2019
AR5 Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, IPCC report, 2014
‘This is Not Normal’: Climate Change and Escalating Bushfire Risk, Climate Council, 12 November 2019
“Australian bushfire danger under changing climatic regimes” in Greenhouse: Planning for Climate Change, T. Beer et al. 1987
CSIRO Warns of Serious Bushfire Risk, The Canberra Times, Tuesday 15 Dec 1987
VIDEO: Darin Sullivan, Firefighter/NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union @ Wollongong Protest for Action on the Bushfire Crisis, 11 Jan 2020
VIDEO: Former Fire Chiefs Deliver Climate Change Warning, SBS, 14 Nov, 2019
Bushfire Inquiries, Royal Commissions, and Expert Recommendations to the Federal Government
A Nation Charred: Inquiry into the Recent Australian Bushfires, House Select Committee, 2003
Bushfires in Australia, Prepared for the 2009 Senate Inquiry into Bushfires in Australia, CSIRO July 2009
On Bushfire Disaster Preparedness and Response in Victoria, Australia, following the Ash Wednesday Fires 16 February 1983; Report of the Bushfire Review Committee, April 1984
Complete Lists of Inquiries;
Learning from Adversity: What Has 75 Years of Bushfire Inquiries Taught Us? Conference Paper 2014 (51 Bushfire Inquiries, from 1939 - 2013)
Bushfires in NSW: Timelines and Key Resources; NSW Parliamentary Research Service, June 2014 (Incl. Bushfires List and Inquiries from all states)
Bushfire Reviews and Inquiries; Victoria State Government, 1939 - 2013
Federal Government Response to Bushfires and Inquiries
"Now Is Not The Time To Discuss How We Ignored Decades Of Warnings That This Would Happen" (Satire, but accurate)
I had to come to see for myself: Prime Ministers, Natural Disasters, and the People
The Federal Government & Climate Inaction
Scott Morrison says the government is acting on emissions. Is it true?
Coalition gets a miserable 4% on climate change policy scorecard
75 Out Of 77 Government MPs Wouldn't Give Us Their Views On Climate Change
Global Warming and Climate Change: What Australia Knew and Buried, Maria Taylor, ANU Press, 2014
Australia and Greenhouse Policy- A Chronology, From 1861 - 1997
Industry Commission Report: Costs and Benefits of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Vol 1 & 2, Inquiry commissioned by the Keating Administration, 1991
The Federal Government & the Fossil Fuels Industry
Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates, IMF Working Paper, May 2019
Fossil Fuel Industry Donations to Australian Political Parties, Market Forces, 2019
Coal Production is on the Rise in Australia: IEG Energy Atlas, 2019
Adani Carmichael Coal Mine;
Our Fight: Stop Adani Destroying Our Land and Culture
Federal Government Cuts to Public Services
Australia cuts research funding for universities: Government investment at lowest in 40 years