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Extreme heat in Australia: more, longer, hotter

Tony Abbott, Australia

Tony Abbott denies growing evidence that links droughts and climate change. Photograph: AAP


Powered by article titled “Extreme heat in Australia: more, longer, hotter” was written by Alexander White, for on Friday 21st February 2014 05.41 UTC

Heatwaves are becoming hotter, lasting longer and occurring more often. That is the assessment of the latest Climate Council report, which looks at data from a range of peer-reviewed literature and authoritative assessments.

After last year’s “Angry Summer” of heatwaves and bushfires, 2014 has started with more record-busting extreme heat, as well as more devastating bushfires in Victoria. In fact, hot days have doubled since the 1950s, according to data from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Despite this, Australia’s conservative elite, including News Corp columnist Miranda Devine and climate change denying prime minister Tony Abbott deny the link between climate change, extreme heatwaves and bushfires.

Miranda Devine wrote in 2013 in The Daily Telegraph “Australia has never had a mild and easy climate” and then proceeded to list a number of hot days in Sydney in the 1800s. This, according to Devine, is proof that because there was extreme heat in the past, that the heatwaves we experience now are normal.

Meanwhile, prime minister Tony Abbott denounced common sense and the growing body of scientific evidence that links climate change to bushfires. In an interview with the Washington Post in October last year, he used standard denialist lines to cast uncertainty and doubt: “Australia has had fires and floods since the beginning of time. We’ve had much bigger floods and fires than the ones we’ve recently experienced.”

Earlier this month, while on a “drought tour” in Broken Hill, the prime minister dismissed the link between climate change and droughts:

“If you look at the records of Australian agriculture going back 150 years, there have always been good times and bad times,” he said. “There have always been tough times and lush times and farmers ought to be able to deal with the sorts of things that are expected every few years.”

Like Devine, Abbott is dismissing climate change based on the nonsense notion that because there have been droughts in the past, the droughts now and in the future are normal.

Even plutocrat media-mogul Rupert Murdoch  wished away the link between extreme weather and climate change, in reference to the floods devastating the UK and the polar vortex in North America.


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