Prime Minister Scott Morrison has conceded that climate change has been a contributing factor to the bushfires that are still burning across Australia after being infamously silent on the subject.
“We also know that there are many contributing factors that relate to these fires. The drought is obviously one, and the dryness of the bush is the biggest factor,” Mr Morrison said.
“And we all know … that climate change, along with many other factors, contribute to what is occurring today.”
He also urged calm on the issue saying not one single factor alone is to blame for the fires, and that climate change is a global issue.
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“I know, because I’m a Sydneysider, how unusual it is to see haze across my city. And I know how distressing this has been, particularly for young people, who wouldn’t have seen that before … that’s why it’s important to have a sense of calm about these matters and calm on the basis of information,” he said.
“But let me be clear about this — climate change is a global challenge. Australia is playing our role as part of this global challenge.”
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The comments come after New South Wales Environment Minister Matt Kean split from his Coalition counterparts stating climate change is to blame for the fires and calling for greater emissions reduction.
“This is not normal and doing nothing is not a solution,” Mr Kean said.
“It would be negligent to miss the opportunity to address climate change.”
After enormous public pressure, Mr Morrison committed an extra $11 million into the country’s aerial fire-fighting capabilities.