David Attenborough criticises Australian government, says 'moment of crisis' has come
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Jim Casey - Fire Fighters Climate Alliance Representative
March On Morrison, 21st December 2019
“I'd like to thank Uncle Vic for his Welcome to Country. My name's Jim Casey. I’m a career Firefighter. I'm here today as a representative of the Fire Fighters Climate Alliance. We're a loose network of Firefighters who can see the link between climate change and our workplace, and we're trying to do something about it.
So look where are we at with this fire crisis? Right now there’s over 200 fires across five states. We've lost 3.1 million hectares in New South Wales and Queensland alone, 800 homes destroyed in NSW. We've got 8 dead, including two of my comrades from The Rural Fire Service. This week we saw the record for the hottest day broken three times between Tuesday on Thursday. It's now at 41.9 degrees. This is unprecedented .
In the 20 years I've been fighting fires, I've never seen anything like it. So why is it so bad? The fuel load is high. The drought has made it very, very dry, and the conditions overall are perfect for fire. The higher than average temperatures have meant that the window for hazard reduction through winter was smaller than anyone would have liked. Which means that we're facing a devastating fire season not as prepared as anyone wanted. But it's the extreme weather associated with global heating, which really nails this.
It's not so much the one degree average, it’s those days with very, very, very high temperatures. It's the high wind, it’s the dry lightning, it’s the fact that CO2 in the atmosphere acts as a kind of super charger for plant growth. So you end up with a situation where your fuel load is not only dry, it's actually bigger than it would have been otherwise. All of this acting in concert is what's giving us the crisis we are facing today.
It gives us fires like the Gosford Mountain Fire. That fire is almost half a 1,000,000 hectares burnt now. It stretches from Lithgow where I was born out to the Central Coast hinterland. It's actually got it’s own weather system, and here's the truth. We can't put it out. Firefighters can not put that fire out. It’s the weather change that will stop Gosford Mountain. We'll be working around the fringes, trying to save life and property, but the fire itself can not be put out.
So what to do about it? I'll give you my perspective as a firefighter? The first thing is resourcing. We need to see the $20 million of cuts to Fire Rescue New South Wales, currently on the governments books, that obviously needs to go. It's ridiculous, but getting rid of those cuts aren’t enough, we need more money in all of the three services that deal with fires, Fire Rescue, The Rural Fire Service, and don't forget the National Parks. They're specialists are extremely good at what they do, and they’ve had significant job cuts over the last five years. Give it up for those boys and girls.
The second thing is to do something for the volunteers. You can't expect people to leave their jobs and their families for days at a time over a period of months, which is what these fire conditions are going to lead to. And to do that without any kind of financial support, financial compensation. You can't expect employers to carry it. If you're running a small business in Kickatinalong and your sort of leading hand is taking off to fight fires. It's a problem for you as well, and I got sympathy for that.
We are one of the richest countries on Earth. We can afford to sort this out. We can afford to pay the Firefighters, we can afford decent aerial support. We can have more professional fulltimers like myself. We could have more part time payed. We could look at paying the volunteers. It just requires political will.
It just requires political will, but what do we get, I’ll tell you what we get, Gladys says the resources are in hands. Scott says the volunteers love it. It's a vacuum of leadership. It's a vacuum of leadership. And with that look, where I take real heart is the fact that people like us , people like you are standing up and saying it’s not good enough.
Now that's the immediate problem, the resourcing. But it's not enough to say that that's really where it ends from where I stand because Firefighters with these kind of fires, what we are is a band-aid. You can get a bigger Bandaid, you might even upgrade it to a bandage or a trauma wound bandage. But if the wound itself is infected, ultimately you've got a problem you can't fix.
And that's the problem we got here because these conditions, the conditions that are giving us this fire season. They're the new normal. This is not a one off. This is what happens with a heating world. You start to see a change in climate, which means that Bush fires will get bigger and get worse. And that's why it's this government's shameful in action on climate change policy itself, which is the real horror show for me here today. Fire fighters are taught to minimize risk. That's one of the things we learned to do.
Our workplace is inherently unsafe, so you work out ways to minimize risk. The problem with the fact that our government has failed to start moving on climate, it has failed to start de-carbonizing the economy is that this is the kind of risk I can't mitigate on the end of a fire hose. I can't mitigate by having more of my comrades alongside me. The only way that gets mitigated is by people like you keeping the pressure up so we actually see political action and start moving on de-carbonizing our economy.
I’m back to work tomorrow so I want to say this. It gives me enormous heart to see you all here today and it's going to give me heart tomorrow when I'm at work. This is a fight we have to win. This is a fight we can win all the best brothers and sisters and I'll see you at the next one. Thank you”.
Jim Casey - Fire Fighters Climate Alliance Representative
March On Morrison, 21st December 2019
Audio of Speech Available Via Link Below
They carry on like Australia is doing nothing. and even if we stopped all mining in Australia and band all non battery vehicles plus shut down all coal powered fired station we would have a total "0" percent effect on Co2 or the Global Climate. so just think about that before you cost the country a heap of money.. Lets clean up the oceans and rivers and come up with better ways to depose of rubbish and slow down the use of plastics.. That IS something we can do. Australia cannot change the climate.
What exactly is Australia doing to combat man made climate change? As far as I am aware our government has been denying that there is even a problem, and if there is a problem we cant do anything about it anyway.
If we stop selling coal to India and China they will simply buy less pure more polluting coal from elsewhere. I'd be happy to sign an agreement that when China USA and India clean up their act Australia will too, other than that it's pointless when our coal plants produce something like 2% of global emissions.
Australia came nearly last worldwide for our lack of attempt at addressing climate change. We arent pulling our weight, and everyone can see it.
We make 0.33% of the world's population, if we were just doing passably we should be at 0.33% of the world's pollution. But we're not, because somehow the marketing team at adani and LNP have managed to convince Australians that we don't need to contribute to a breathable atmosphere for our kids.
Moment of crisis was three days ago, covering a period of 5 months prior to it (with the crisis peaking in December and early January). Drought's over now.
The drought has been going on for the last 3 years nationwide. If you truly think a couple of days of rain is going to reverse that you're quite naive.
When was Australia coldest January on record?
For Sydney it was 1949
When our government is on the wrong side of the UN, the entire scientific community and now fricken legend David Attenborough, our government is probably on the wrong side.
And that’s a good thing. Fuck the UN.
The UN-IPCC doesn't make all the hysterical claims of the planet dying like some on the left. It discusses the unexpected drop in the rate of warming despite CO2 continuing to rise in the atmosphere. It's actually very measured in its language.
It seems like climate hysterics are the ones on the wrong side of the UN
Don’t worry. All you are missing out on is the incessant ramblings of uneducated boomers claiming David Attenborough has no scientific credentials. Which is coincidentally the same amount of scientific credentials they have.
A nice old man but they really shouldn't be interviewing him in his twilight years. Old people can get very confused.
Could say the same about a lot of the LNP government. Most of them are past 60 or are in their late 50s
He probably is better clued on than any user regarding the world and the impacts on nature and the climate than any user in here
Unqualified bloke makes statement about field he is still not qualified in. Not a news story.
He is a highly qualified observer who is one of the most extensively traveled people on the planet who has been able to return to places numerous times and has directly seen the impacts of a warming climate. I'm certainly prepared to listen to what he has observed over that period. It would be churlish not to do so.
Just like the coalition government. They are right at home together
And what makes you qualified to have an opinion on climate ?
Isnt he one of the most well known people in regards to the environment and nature?
I eagerly await the criticism of Attenborough from the usual crowd given his lack of climate science qualifications meaning his views are not to be taken seriously.
Some respectable University should give him an honorary doctorate IMHO. He's certainly done enough for one.
I'm glad you agree with the majority of research conducted by qualified climate scientists then!
The best thing about agreeing with experts is you get to do so without needing matching credentials.
So we should ingore joanne nova and anything you say then
You hold no training either in climate or environmental sciences