Neil Barrett, Castlemaine
Is climate change increasing the risk of bushfires? David Cunningham (‘Twisted science’, Opinions, September 11) doesn’t think so. He even accuses Trevor Scott of using’ junk science’.
My interest piqued, I went straight to the CSIRO website to read that:
Future climate change impacts will be experienced mostly through extreme events… Heatwaves, floods, fires and southern Australian droughts are expected to become more intense and more frequent. Frosts, snow and tropical cyclones are expected to occur less often.
Elsewhere on the CSIRO site I read that:
Australia [is] an area likely to become hotter and drier under climate change, and an increase in fire-weather risk is likely at most sites [in the south east]… including the average number of days when the FFDI (forest fire danger index) is very high or extreme.
This CSIRO article goes on to say that the number of FFDI days could increase by 15 per cent to 70 per cent by 2050, well within the lifetime of our children and grandchildren.
Sure, other factors such as fuel load also play a significant part. But the danger presented by climate change should surely be treated with much more respect than David Cunningham treats it with.
David also argues that Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth ‘proved to be far from the truth’. According to a British judge, it did contain nine errors. These were mainly exaggerations and minor mistakes in what was essentially a political/scientific documentary which was highly praised by climate scientists around the world.
More tellingly, the judge also concluded that the film was ‘broadly accurate’ in its presentation of climate change and was ‘substantially founded upon scientific research and fact …’. Surely it’s this conclusion that is most significant and that makes the film still today a very useful tool for encouraging people to be concerned about the issue.