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Sir David Attenborough Slams 'Nonsense' Claims Australia's Bushfires Not Caused By Climate Change

Sir David Attenborough says Australia is on fire because of climate change and “the moment of crisis has come”.

"As I speak, south-east Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing," the broadcaster told BBC News.

Attenborough said he felt it was "palpable nonsense" that some politicians and commentators had suggested that the country’s fire crisis had nothing to do with the world getting warmer.

“We have been putting things off for year after year,” he said, adding that human activity is behind the heating of the Earth.

"We have to realise that this is not playing games," he said.

Bushfire Crisis

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Residents who own holiday homes in bushfire-ravaged areas of NSW are being urged to open up their properties to neighbours who have lost everything in blazes that have torn through the state.

Rural Fire Service volunteers (RFS) and Fire and Rescue NSW officers (FRNSW) contain small bushfire which closed the Princes Highway south of Ulladulla, Sunday, January 5, 2020. Image: AAP

"This is not just having a nice little debate, arguments and then coming away with a compromise. This is an urgent problem that has to be solved and, what's more, we know how to do it - that's the paradoxical thing, that we're refusing to take steps that we know have to be taken."

Attenborough’s comments come as parts of NSW, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania assess the damage already caused by bushfires this summer.

The smoke from Australia's bushfires was expected to make a full circuit around the globe. Image: NASA

It also follows the World Meteorological Organisation finding that 2019 was the Earth's second-hottest on record, and temperatures are creeping towards a globally agreed limit after which major changes to the earth are expected.

Former Fire and Rescue NSW deputy commissioner Ken Thompson told AAP on Thursday the developments are a terrifying sign of increasing catastrophe, especially after fires have laid waste to vast swathes of the country.

"We're on a stepping stone to a different kind of normal, and that normal is going to be more catastrophe," he said.

"All we can do now is reduce our emissions to the point where we can put a cap on it."

Thompson said he has witnessed a significant shift in the Australian people's support for climate science at the same time as those denying it dig in their heels.

Politics

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Firefighters Hose Down Need For Royal Commission Into Bushfires

Australian firefighters are urging Scott Morrison not to call a royal commission into the unprecedented bushfires ravaging the country.

Adelaide wildlife rescuer Simon Adamczyk is seen with koala rescued at a burning forest near Cape Borda on Kangaroo Island on January 7, 2020. Image: AAP

But he said the federal government's position on climate change and its undermining of scientists is putting people in danger.

"You've got people who are very influenced by what politicians say, and what the media says, and if they're being told things are okay and then they suddenly find themselves in the catastrophic conditions that we're in now," he said.

"That's a very stressful situation for people to be in."

Thompson also predicted a surge in frontline services personnel like police, firefighters and paramedics developing post-traumatic stress disorder due to increasingly confronting scenes.

The average global temperature in 2019 was only 1.1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but its implications are massive both on the land and in the ocean, experts say.

  • With AAP