Earlier, Reuters reported that scientists believed that climate change may have been a contributing factor in the Australian Wildfire disaster! Now, it appears that these infernos were deliberately set. Although climate change is affecting Australia, this bushfire seems to be the evil handiwork of one or more arsonists.People are getting burned alive because it’s spreading so rapidly that it’s hard to escape.Here’s the updated story from the Telegraph:
“Suspicions that the worst wildfires ever to strike Australia were deliberately set led police to declare crime scenes Monday in towns incinerated by blazes, while investigators moving into the charred landscape discovered more bodies.
As the smoke cleared over parts of Victoria and police and fire crews began the painstaking task of picking over the rubble and ash in search for more bodies, more than half of the state was been declared a crime scene.
Police believe several of the more than 400 blazes that devastated town and farmland, killed at least 130 people and destroyed 750 homes on Black Saturday were deliberately lit.
Forensic teams of investigators are now moving into burned out houses and farms, looking for evidence of how the infernos were started, and who could have lit them.
Authorities have warned that the toll from the fires that swept through the state “like a steam train” could still rise, as many people remained unaccounted for.
Relatives of the missing have been warned it could be days before the bodies are identified because the remains are so badly burned it is “like they have been cremated“.
Prime minister Kevin Rudd, who has suspended parliament and is touring the affected region, said whoever was responsible for lighting or relighting the fires had committed “mass murder“.
A clearly-shaken Mr Rudd struggled to express his horror at the actions of the arsonists.
“What can you say? What can you say? There are no word to describe it other than mass murder,” he said.
“It is a level of horror few of us had anticipated.” Keiran Walshe, Victoria’s deputy police commissioner, said finding who was to blame for the fires would be difficult, but not impossible.
“There’s always something that will tell us where the ignition point was and what was used to ignite it. Then we can start to piece together who could have done it.” Police have warned that offenders implicated in the fires could be charged with arson causing death, a crime that carries a 25 year prison sentence.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.
Here’s the earlier report from Reuters that talked about climate change as a factor in the wildfires:
“Australia’s deadliest wildfires increased pressure on the national government to take firm action on climate change on Monday as scientists said global warming likely contributed to conditions that fuelled the disaster.
At least 130 people were killed in wildfires, set off by a record heatwave in southern Victoria state over the past week days, while large areas of Queensland state remain flooded by tropical downpours.
Scientists said Australia needed to prepare for more extreme weather events due to global warming, while the Greens and environmentalists said the fires and floods proved the government needed to toughen its targets to curb Greenhouse emissions.
“It’s very clear, both globally and in Australia, there has been a warming trend since about 1950,” leading Australian climate scientist Kevin Hennessy told Reuters.
“In a nutshell we can say the heatwaves and the fires we’ve seen in Victoria recently maybe partly due to climate change through the contribution of increased temperature.
“Going forward, we anticipate there will be continued increases in greenhouse gases and that locks in a certain amount of warming, and in the case of southern Australia further drying, and this will increase the fire weather risk.”
Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change because of its hot, dry climate, with the nation’s south in prolonged drought and temperatures tipped to rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 across the tropical north and desert interiors.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has set a target to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2020, and will only cut further, to about 15 percent, if there is widespread international agreement on tougher action.
But Green groups want Australia, which creates about 1.5 percent of global emissions, to cut emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020 as an example to the developing world, particularly India and China, about the need to take firm action.
Greens climate spokeswoman Christine Milne said all Australians had been deeply touched by the fire tragedy and the increased risk of fires from global warming.”(End of Excerpt)Read the rest here.
In this 2007 video, Philip Adams (presenter of Late Night Live on Australia’s ABC Radio National), talks about the problems that climate change presents to the world & how Australia is contributing to global warming.
Vodpod videos no longer available.