Action on climate is a duty above politics  

Posted by Big Gav in

I was amused watching PM Abbott spending much of the week in the bushfire zone while the News Ltd press complained the greens were politicising the event by linking it (obviously) to global warming. The Age has an editorial on the topic - Action on climate is a duty above politics.

As at least 56 bushfires rage across New South Wales in the worst fire disaster to hit the state in nearly 50 years, The Age endorses the sentiments of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has expressed the nation's ''sorrow and sympathy for all who are suffering''. Likewise, we support Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's tribute to the brave and tireless work of firefighters and police. With one life already lost, and probably more to come as the infernos indiscriminately continue to take their toll, this is indeed a human tragedy.

Given the scale and terrible consequences of the fires, and the fact that NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has declared a state of emergency, it might have appeared unnecessarily churlish of the Greens' deputy leader Adam Bandt to criticise the Abbott government's policy on climate change. Mr Bandt says that the Coalition is dismantling Australia's global-warming action in the face of scientific opinion that global warming and its associated dangers are increasing. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has accused Mr Bandt of scoring political points from the fires.

The Age believes Mr Bandt has a valid point. Rather than politicising on his own behalf, his criticisms draw necessary attention to the Abbott government's own politicising: the swift fulfilment of its election promises to downgrade the prominence of science in general and the effects of climate change in particular. As we wrote a month ago, ''It is reasonable to fear that science and the science portfolio are being sacrificed to politics.''

It is not just Mr Bandt who is concerned. The Climate Institute's chief executive, John Connor, says there are high risks in disregarding the nexus between the advancement of climate change and the growing severity and frequency of bushfires. An analogy may be drawn with the responsibility of government to respond to road safety issues as they arise. When causes of tragedies on our roads are identified, it is not politicising the issue to demand they be tackled.

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