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We warned decades ago about climate change and bushfires: scientist


A scientist who led a study more than 30 years ago on the impact climate change could have on bushfires has joined two professors urging governments to heed the science on the issue.

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Tom Beer – author of the world’s first bushfire and climate change study in 1988 and former leader of the climate change research program at the CSIRO – is among those to have made the appeal in a statement.

“For over 30 years, climate scientists have been warning Australian governments about the escalating threat of catastrophic bushfire conditions because of climate change,” the statement, released by the Climate Council on Wednesday, reads.

“Climate change is fuelling the national bushfire catastrophe, and it will get worse without radical action.”

Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science at the University of Tasmania Professor David Bowman and Climate Councillor and Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University Professor Will Steffen have penned the statement with Dr Beer.

They say the scientific community has long warned that climate change is leading to hotter temperatures, more frequent, longer and more intense heatwaves and shifting rain patterns.

It was also warned that would lead to more severe bushfire conditions, which the trio say has played out in the nation’s current bushfire crisis.

“These warnings have been validated this summer,” the statement reads.

“We do not seek recriminations, but rather, today we seek to state clearly that the time has passed where we can ignore these warnings, or continue to deny Australia’s role in this global problem.”

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