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About 480 million mammals, birds, reptiles and other animals have died. 100,000 displaced people, at least 25 victims and over 6 million hectares of land destroyed. Are the impressive figures of the environmental disaster that for four months now has been affecting Australia, hit by fires that don't seem to end. A real hell that day after day is devouring the forests of the country, threatening inhabited centers, transforming tourist resorts into ghost towns, devastating biodiversity and increasing the risk of the permanent disappearance of Koala, a species already declared functionally extinct.
But what are the possible causes of this unstoppable apocalypse? On the net, there are doubts, questions and hypotheses by users from all over the world. At the same time, articles and press releases from various international agencies flourish. Waiting for them to be enacted technical-scientific data certain, official and definitive, let's try to take stock of the situation in the current state of things.
2019: a year of record temperatures for Australia
In researching the causes of the fires that are bringing Australia to its knees, the finger is aimed primarily at the effects of global warming and the current climate crisis. According to the findings of Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Meteorological Service, the year 2019 appeared as the hottest ever, recording a thermal anomaly of + 2.09 ° C, far higher than the previous + 1.6 ° C dating back to the year 2013 According to the findings, in Australia almost all the warmest years occurred in the 2000s, with the exception of only two years, 2009 and 2010, characterized by slightly below normal temperatures.
The situation of the fires continues to be dramatic and, as stated by the Bureau of Meteorology, the fires are of such intensity and magnitude as to determine a singular and autonomous meteorological phenomenon, the generation of cumulonimbus pyro. These are particular cloud formations produced by the smoke and heat of the fires, capable of causing severe thunderstorms. Instead of being an aid to extinguish the fires, these storms tend to stoke the flames through lightning and gusts of wind and carrying burning embers and hot ashes in the air that end up spilling over large areas of territory.
In extreme wind conditions, the so-called "Firenado", columns of fire that rise into the atmosphere, unleashing a vortex similar to the one that forms a tornado. We are therefore facing a vicious circle, favored not only by the record temperatures that have affected Australia in recent months but also by the coexistence of strong winds. To complicate the very delicate picture, there are three consecutive years of drought. An alarming context that inevitably raises questions about climate denial waved by the Australian government.
The climate denial of the Australian government
That the governments of Australia embrace denial positions on the front of climate change is nothing new in the last few hours. Already in August 2018, the now former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull it had taken a step back from the Paris Agreement, deciding not to respect the commitments made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, the local energy lobby had won against the climate.
The current Conservative government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison it did not deviate much from the previously drawn line, showing that it does not take the climate crisis seriously. Despite the strong criticism and the many protests.
To support the point of view of those who instead see the signs of an increasingly pressing climate emergency in the Australian Apocalypse is the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2020, a tool used to describe and to objectively and transparently evaluate international policies on the subject of climate change. This year's CCPI index, presented on the occasion of the COP25 hosted in Madrid, has assigned Australia the lowest rating ever in the evaluation of the climate policy of dozens of countries. The country ranked 56th in the overall ranking of the index, receiving very low ratings for what concerns the use of energy and being the international trailing behind both in the category of greenhouse gas emissions and in that of energy renewable.
The state of affairs shows that the current Australian Prime Minister is much more focused on practical issues of fighting fires than on preventing fires, starting from their underlying causes. In his New Year's address to the nation, Morrison did not, in fact, hint at the connection between the incessant fires and the global warming, pointing out that Australia is facing an ordeal but that the national population has already passed similar tests throughout its history.
On the other hand, scientists and experts argue that greenhouse gas emissions, while not a direct cause of fires, play a documented and undeniable role in raising temperatures, as they create exceptionally dry environmental and climatic conditions and increase accordingly. the risks of fires with catastrophic implications.
In view of the ongoing disaster, the criticisms directed against the policies implemented by Morrison are therefore inevitable. Once again the choices of the Australian government favor the traditional energy industry at the expense of the climate and the environment. It should not be forgotten that Australia is the world's largest coal exporter. A profitable industry towards which Morrison appears determined not to make cuts, as he himself stated in an interview with Seven Network released a few days ago. These are the words spoken by the Australian Prime Minister: "I will not cancel the work of thousands of Australians by moving away from traditional industries“.
Morrison however assured that the country will catch up with emission targets established for 2030, "addressing climate change responsibly". But for the minds most sensitive to the environmental emergency and for members of the local Labor opposition, these promises are not enough. And not wrongly.
The arrests for arson
As flames and controversy continue to rage, New South Wales police meanwhile reported that Australian authorities accused 183 people of deliberately setting fire to forest fires of the last few months. Of these, 24 people were charged in connection with arson in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. The even more sad fact is that as many as 70 percent of arsonists are minors.
As often happens, in short, the devastating hand of man is contributing to aggravate a tragedy that will hardly be forgotten and which will cause an almost incurable wound to the environmental health of Australia and the entire planet.