Australia's apocalyptic wildfires continue to rage

Amanpour
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We turn to the crisis already shaping the twenty twenty s and that is the apocalyptic wildfires advised which are decimating Australian flora and fauna. One expert saying that hundreds of millions of animals probably being killed volunteers formed form the backbone of the desperate firefighting effort to control these fast moving flames. The smoke is filling the skies above Australia and even reaching New Zealand earlier. I spoke with Australia's chief climate scientist. Tim flannery professor flannery. Welcome to the program thank you. It is truly a tragedy to see what's happening to your amazing and beautiful country and this has been going on for days weeks and in fact it was no it all started months to go. Give us the state of play as we speak right now. We've had around seventeen million acres of Australia. Burned twenty five people have died in the flames. The impacts on biodiversity of being truly horrific just on kangaroo island off the coast surface area half of the population we think has been killed about a third of the Koala population for the northern half of New South Wales and the species species. That are easy to count. So I think unfortunately the impacts of these on our economy on our by diversity and on just human lives will will be with us for many decades and sadly it's not an end. These dry conditions look set to persist for several months. So why is it that it is so so bad this time around. We have had the driest year on record and it follows the previous year which was very dry as well this she. It has been the hottest year on record by quite a considerable amount about one degree. Fahrenheit and those conditions the part of the long term trajectory of of climate change and if conspired together with a with a windy season to produce these horrific fi conditions which have just gone on and on and I. Should I tell you that this was predicted by climate scientists. I nearly eighty s my own. Climate Council has produced twelve reports warning the government and and warning people of the escalating fire risk and danger in Australia and sadly until it heats very little is done. Are you absolutely sure that this is climate. Climate change caused. Yes absolutely certain the scientists telling us this. It's telling us that these extreme heat conditions we've seen this year might occur naturally once every three hundred and fifty years but once you add the influence of the human immune greenhouse gases. We're likely to see those conditions once every eight years and and of course that number will decline. It will become more frequent as the build up of guesses continues. You as you mentioned started the Climate Council for Australia and just put into perspective for us. How your experience demonstrates the lack of seriousness that certainly this government previous governments have have have taken climate change? Because you if I'm not mistaken have had to raise funds on your own for this very important. Important scientific monitoring system will that's correct. I was Australia's climate commissioner for three years. The first act of the new conservative government in two thousand and thirteen thirteen with me and my commissioners and to take down our website But we felt that the work we doing with so important that we really went to the Australian in public and crowd. Funded the entity Beck into existence today. Where larger and better than ever before but courtesy of the Australian public who understand that we we need to understand the science of climate change? We need to protect ourselves with good advance warning but the government so far hasn't been interested in this. It is truly tragic. I can't tell you how it feels to me to wake up every morning smelling the smoke of my country burning for month after month and and knowing that we could have done something about these head we started ten fifteen years ago. How is this affecting the current? Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Because he's never taken taken these science seriously and I don't even know whether he's agreeing right now. These fires are exacerbated because of climate crisis and climate change age. But how long can he persist in that policy and political stance when the people presumably people who also elected him a feeling. So Oh angry. Obviously we've seen these pictures of him trying to meet with people trying to go to the scenes and people heckling him. Many refused to shake his hand. Far How will you handle more funding to artists. So many people lost their heart becoming. Ah Sadly Cristiana. It's not just our prime minister. We have a significant minority of Australian parliamentarians who who are welded on climate skeptics and even if the seas were lapping day chain and their hair was on fire as a result of climate change. I don't think I changed my mind. And these are people who are deeply committed to a particular cause deeply committed to the burning of fossil fuels. We have this thing in a strategy called the revolving door. These people go. In as lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry they come out of the revolving doors administering conservative government and then they go back in again again and come out on the board of a fossil fuel company the links just so intense. They so interwoven. That I don't think there's a prospect it for change these people. If we want change we have to vote them out and vote in a government that will take action well. Let's just talk about the possibility of trying to get changed in a responsible responsible government but to augment to amplify what you've just said Scott Morrison your current Prime Minister back in two thousand seventeen when he was treasurer of the nation actually held up a lump of coal. And we know that cold Australia's is the biggest exporter but he held it up and we have a little clip of that. This is called Darby Fried. The Treasury is the rule of trump's. It's called by men and women who work and leaving the electorates of those officers from the hundred dollars. The mega behind it would not. It's called that has ensured for one hundred he is the deputy prime joy and energy competitive advantage delivered prosperity to a strident businesses Anderson. Shaw auto industry has remained competitive on a global market. What hope is there when you have this kind of of demonstration of gets Rebecca word one of the better word and addiction and National Addiction? A political addiction to this fossil fuel looks sadly it is a national addiction and the nexus between the fossil fuel industry and the lobbyists and the government is. This is almost complete. It's not exceptional in Australia. For a federal government minister in charge of natural resources and mining. Too when he leaves parliament going to the Board of a fossil fuel company. It's it's a tragic situation. Where self interest is seeing such great damage inflicted upon the people? Oh and the the nature of our country. What about the people who are trying to fight this now? I mean many people around the world won't fully appreciate that. So many of your emergency workers the five fighters of volunteer workers and they have had to put up with something that clearly is as we see now beyond their capacity. What kind of help

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