Bushfires and floods have Australians asking: ‘What climate change?’

Bushfires and flooding rains

Bushfires and flooding rains – Screenshot from Bureau of Meteorology video

Bushfires in Queensland and flooding rains in Sydney have raised online debate in Australia about the impact of climate change on extreme weather conditions.

On Wednesday, 28 November 2018, record temperatures in central Queensland resulted in 200 fires, which some classified as catastrophic. Eight thousand people were evacuated from the town of Gracemere just near the regional center of Rockhampton.

Further south, a month’s rainfall inundated Sydney on the same day, with 100 millimetres (4 inches) recorded in just two hours. There was widespread flooding and property damage, as well as two reported deaths. One ‘mini-cyclone’ tore off the side of a building.

Despite the sunburnt county’s reputation for “droughts and flooding rains”, many Australians were quick to blame climate change for the exceptional events:

Not all agreed. Some argued that isolated weather events are not proof of a connection. A tweet by news website new.com.au brought this response:

Melanie Elron was more concerned with the big picture:

The Australian government’s action, or inaction, has been a hot topic in recent times. Coincidentally, the United Nations released a report on the same day. According to the Climate Council:

A NEW UNITED NATIONS report has found that Australia, along with countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United States, is not on track to meet its 2030 Paris climate target.

Jonathan Meddings lays the blame squarely on the politicians (aka ‘pollies’ down under):

Meanwhile, students are taking action of their own with many skipping classes to attend Student Strike for Climate Action rallies around the nation:

Their action has certainly fired up Prime Minister Scott Morrison who called for “less activism in schools and more learning”. Many on social media took the side of the students:

Climate change is shaping up as a major issue at next year's Federal election in Australia expected in May.

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