Friday, February 1, 2019

An appeal to the Tasmanian government to better recognise the links between fire and climate change

Tasmania is experiencing terrifying, health-damaging fires for the third time in six years (2013, 2016, 2019). The nature and risk of fires has changed in many countries, due to climate change; in Australia's island state the climate is hotter, drier and there is more dry lightning. The Tasmanian Fire Service website is excellent, yet climate change is barely mentioned. It needs to be a major subject heading, to help educate an uncertain public. The absence of climate change as a prominent theme on this site may reflect ambivalence or even attempted suppression of this issue by the Tasmanian government. This is not good enough. Please help us convince the the Tasmanian government to be part of the solution, not add to the problem.

Some politicians claim that making the link between climate change and tragedy is insensitive, but keeping silent on this issue would be like a doctor ignoring the smoking behaviour of a patient who just had a heart attack.

Climate change also threatens to greatly harm the summer tourism industry in Tasmania. Tasmania, which is already a world leader on carbon neutral electricity, must awaken to the many risks caused by climate change and, led by its democratically elected government, do what it can to reduce those risks.

Please sign and circulate the petition, and also write directly to Premier Will Hodgman at


It was my experience of being awoken by the smell of smoke, in the Tasmanian forest, in the heatwave of January 2103, which made me decide to be arrested for civil disobedience about the collective failure of Australians to do enough to slow climate change. In 2014 I became the first (and so far only) Australian contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to have been arrested for civil disobedience on this issue, and the first (and, also, so far only) contributor to the health chapter of the IPCC.

Unfortunately, mainstream media almost completely ignored this at the time, with one exception.

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