Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attempt to play both sides of the climate game has spectacularly backfired. By claiming to care about climate change but at the same time not doing a lot to reduce CO2 emissions, the Prime Minister has left himself wide open to green accusations he has not done enough to prevent Australia’s bushfires.
Are the bushfires Scott Morrison’s Hurricane Katrina moment that he can’t live down?
By Laura Tingle
Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in US history. It displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The damage was estimated at $US100 billion, and more than 1,000 people are thought to have died.
When it struck, US President George W Bush was on vacation on his ranch in Texas. The two days it took for him to decide to cut short the vacation and return to Washington was a disaster of a different kind.
It was not just a political disaster for Bush, but a disaster for public confidence in the agencies responding to the storm.
Blame games erupted between Washington and state and local authorities about why the response was so slow.
As people yell at the Prime Minister when he visits their devastated communities, or howl for his blood on social media, the story of Bush’s failure to immediately recognise a catastrophe and the urgent need for leadership it represented, tells us what problems are created by Scott Morrison’s perplexing failures of political and policy judgement in recent weeks.
People are frightened, and angry. Some have lived through a fire, or just faced the anxiety of trying to evacuate family through massive traffic jams.
They may have faced shortages of food and fuel, and/or several days without power and communications.
Such people tend to lose their faith in the capacity of governments to comprehend, let alone respond, to a crisis like this that is likely to continue for at least some months.
…Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-04/bushfires-climate-change-scott-morrison-perplexing-failures/11839770
Aussie climate activists have not yet won the public debate. There is widespread awareness that climate activists sabotaged fire safety forest management by occupying forests scheduled for controlled burns in the years leading up to this years’s horrific fire season.
A few days ago I heard local regional radio presenters criticising greens for their disastrous campaigns to prevent controlled burns.
And of course, as Morrison himself pointed out, Australian domestic climate policy has no real impact on global CO2 emissions, so even if CO2 was driving more intense fires, there is nothing the Australian government could do about it.
But none of this is helping Prime Minister Scott Morrison. His weak climate prevarications and his clumsy and insensitive response to the bushfire crisis are making him look uncaring and disengaged.