Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Are the bushfires a result of climate warming?

By Peter Bowden - posted Thursday, 16 January 2020

This article shows the evidence that proves that they are – that global warming has caused Australia's bushfires. And that we can do something about the problem. But first we must deal with the climate sceptics and climate deniers.

They are primarily politically conservative. Two of the most outspoken are Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia , who has publicly stated that climate change is crap; the other is Christopher Monckton a British hereditary peer. Conservative political advisor, and UKIP political candidate, he has stated that it is necessary to nail the childish myth that global warming caused the bushfires in Australia. Monckton appears particularly unthinking and ill informed.

But perhaps the most extreme is Jeremy Clarkson, a British commentator, who, in his column for The Sun newspaper – owned by Rupert Murdoch, a supporter of conservatism, wrote that Australia was on fire because "God didn't want people to live there". Clarkson is unsympathetic to the green movement and has little respect for groups such as Greenpeace-he believes that the "eco-mentalists" are a by-product of the "old trade unionists and CND lesbians. Clarkson also criticized Greta Thunberg, calling her "a spoilt brat".


Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp publications are climate deniers. Rupert Murdoch's son James, and daughter-in-law recently issued a sharp condemnation of Murdoch-owned publications, telling The Daily Beast they were disappointed in the climate-change denialism amid the deadly bushfire crisis in Australia. A member of Murdoch's staff has issued the same complaint.

Rupert Murdoch recently denied that there were any climate change deniers working at News Corp despite several of the company's columnists, such as Andrew Bolt and Piers Akerman, being long-time sceptics of the link between human activity and global warming. News Corp mastheads are The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun.

Why conservative beliefs should include climate scepticism is a mystery to this writer. But he is aware of several conservative friends and acquaintance who are sceptics. And other politicians. Even the current Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is under attack for his climate policies. Morrison is also criticised for his bushfire policies.

The US President, Donald Trump, an arch conservative, is a further sceptic withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Paris climate change accord.

The only theory that this writer can offer for the conservative opposition to acting on the changing climate is that conservatives, by definition, do not endorse change. And our climate is changing. So, rather than acting, the least thinking approach is to deny that change.

Abbott has since modified his position, now accepting climate change, but arguing that we are approaching it the wrong way. Monckton however continues the conservative debate by arguing "those who profiteer by asserting that global warming is the cause of every extreme-weather event have rushed to state – falsely – that an "overwhelming scientific consensus" (to cite the Greens' website) blames the incidence, extent, duration and severity of the drought and bushfires on the somewhat warmer weather. "


This present article argues that Monckton and his conservative colleagues are wrong – very, very wrong, and a danger to our community. Bushfires have long been part of the Australian scene The aboriginal people themselves used to burn the bush. But the recent outbreaks have been excessive.

The most common causes of bushfires in Australia include lighting strikes, trees falling on powerlines, arsonists, unintentional kindling of surrounding foliage during agricultural land clearing, dropped matches, cigarettes, sparks caused by power tools, farm machinery.

An announcement in The Sydney Morning Herald recentlyshows that lightning strikes are not uncommon. The following is in one city, not the thousands of square miles of bush: "Two people have been taken to hospital after lightning strikes in Sydney's north, with a woman in Arcadia and a man in Dee Why being struck within minutes of each other."

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

242 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Peter Bowden is an author, researcher and ethicist. He was formerly Coordinator of the MBA Program at Monash University and Professor of Administrative Studies at Manchester University. He is currently a member of the Australian Business Ethics Network , working on business, institutional, and personal ethics.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Peter Bowden

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Peter Bowden
Article Tools
Comment 242 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy