Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has denied 25 years of climate change research and accused a UN executive secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change of "talking through her hat."
Mr Abbott said in an interview that bushfires were always part of Australia's history and fire has always been a part of the experience on the continent since the first human settlement.
He said climate change is real but denies the implication of climate change scientists that it causes bushfires in Australia. Mr Abbott said fires are "just a function of life."
Many studies in Australia were known to support the idea that climate change increases the risk of conditions to make bushfires possible. In The Critical Decade report in 2011, the now defunct Climate Change Commission has exposed the link between increased risk of fire and climate change.
The report said that extreme events like climate change are associated with changes in temperature. The seasonality and intensity of large bushfires in Australia is changing possibly due to climate change, according to the commission's report.
Leaked details of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report contain information that Australia will have 30 per cent increase of very high and extreme fire danger by 2020. This number will increase to 100 per cent by 2050. The report is expected to be relaed in 2014.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research found that the country has experienced more fire weather in the last 30 years in a study commissioned by the Climate Institute from the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre in 2007. The trend was associated with climate change due to human activity.
Meanwhile, Al Gore has criticised Tony Abbott for dismissing evidence provided by climate change scientists. He said in an interview on Oct. 23 that the Abbott government should not be misled by groups with special interests that also do not believe in climate change evidence.
Nobel Prize winner and climate change activist Al Gore accepted the idea that bushfires were natural but he said the conditions are made worse in an environment with extreme temperature. He believes wildfires have become more dangerous.
He also targeted the Coalition government for scrapping Australia's carbon tax policy to make way for its carbon abatement policy. Mr Gore believes that it will be more meaningful to keep a price on Australia's carbon and maintain an effective price.
On a relative note, Australia's Environment Minister Greg Hunt also dismissed suggestions of links between climate change and bushfires. Mr Hunt said he "looked up what Wikipedia" had written about bushfires and based his statements there. He said it was clear from Wikipedia that Australia's bushfires were normal and frequent events, which usually happen during the hotter months of the year even before the European Settlement.
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