PM dismisses climate change bushfire claims

PM dismisses climate change bushfire claims

18 December 2006

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Australia — The Prime Minister, John Howard, has brushedaside accusations from the Australia Institute that the Federal Government is indenial about the effect of climate change on bushfires.

The think-tank has released a report warning the numberof bushfires and their intensity will increase if global warming is notaddressed.

Institute executive director Doctor Clive Hamilton saysthe Government is ignoring its international responsibility to respond to globalwarming by refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

“The Federal Government when forced to willacknowledge the science of climate change including the impacts of globalwarming on fires, but all of its actions suggest that it’s in denial,” DrHamilton said.

Mr Howard says the Australia Institute always attacks theGovernment on climate change and its view is entirely predictable.

“I did have complaints when I was in Victoria frompeople who had come from fighting the fires that some of the fire trails innational parks had been locked up and they couldn’t get in in order to protectthe national parks,” Mr Howard said.

“So instead of some rather more esoteric debate, whydon’t people like the Australia Institute examine issues like that?”

Praise from Rudd

Meanwhile, the Federal Opposition Leader has praised thePrime Minister for acting quickly to offer assistance to those affected by thebushfire still burning on Tasmania’s east coast.

Kevin Rudd has also thanked firefighters for their hardwork, labelling them national heroes.

Mr Rudd says he is sure the Federal Government will dothe right thing if the Tasmanian Government seeks more help for those east coastcommunities devastated by fire.

“I think their response to date has been measuredand it’s been appropriate from both levels of government,” Mr Rudd said.

“If more is needed I’m sure that local communityrepresentatives will be putting those requests privately to government.”

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