Australia is currently ablaze with the worst wildfires the country has seen in decades.
The fires have been fuelled by months of drought with at least 25 people killed as well as the huge ecological consequence the fires have had on rare and endangered species. Many scientists believe there is a correlation between the fires and climate change. According to the Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria, because the fires are so big, they are generating their own weather in the form of giant thunderstorms, thus starting more fires.
Information as of January 14th estimate over 46 million acres have been destroyed, the University of Sydney professor Chris Dickman has revised the estimate of animals killed in the bushfires to be more than 800 million, with a national impact on more than one billion animals. “Biodiversity has been going down over the last several decades and its known Australia has the highest rate of extinction for mammals, its events like this that may well hasten the extinction process”
Air quality has dropped to hazardous levels and the cost of dealing with the fires is exceeding 4 billion AUD, tourism has reduced by roughly one billion AUD.
The fires could be seen from New Zealand and smoke has also spread into their skies as well as spread south through the Pacific Ocean into Chile and Argentina. NASA had estimated 306 million tonnes of c02 have been emitted. Chris Dickman has stated; “what we are seeing is the effects of climate change… we’re probably seeing what climate change may look like for other parts of the world in the first stages in Australia”. The landscape around Australia and New Zealand have been widely affected, predominantly seen on social media as people compare images of the country before and after the destruction.
The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), who have been hit worst by the seasons enormous bushfires have now announced an independent 6-month inquiry into the ongoing bushfires. Climate change will be considered, not as a direct cause but contribution to drier and hotter conditions which start and maintain Australia’s fires. Australia is one of the highest emitters of carbon pollution per-capita, due to its heavy reliance on coal fuelled power. The inquiry will begin with examining how state authorities prepared and response to the unpresented crises.
At present, there are still dozens of fires still not under control and 2,400 homes have been destroyed.