by Tom Harris
Image: Associated Press
The British television network ITV should apologize for their
disgraceful January 6th interview of
Craig Kelly, Liberal member of
the Australian House of Representatives (Hughes, New South
from ITV Good Morning Britain weather reporter
Laura Tobin that Kelly was a
"climate denier," a common tactic used by activists when presented
with real-world data that does not conform to the global warming
Piers Morgan concluded the
"I got to say, wake
up. Wake up! 'Climate change' and
global warming are real!
And Australia right
now is showing the entire world just how devastating it is. And,
for senior politicians in Australia to still pretend there's no
connection is absolutely disgraceful."
Besides the fact that
Kelly was not denying global warming, what he said was generally
right. Climate change did not cause the Australian bushfires.
Kelly correctly identified a major cause of the fire problem as,
the failure of
governments to properly clear out the underbrush that, left to
accumulate over years, acts as a tinder box for bushfires...
Good Morning Britain:
"Now, we have record
fuel loads on the ground, that's the bush that accumulates over
the years, and every single royal commission we have had from
our past bushfires have said that we have to reduce those fuel
And that is the main
issue. And yet we have failed to do so.
Just one example:
Commission in 2009 called for a minimum burning of 5% of
that state's forest in Victoria.
amount, over the past two years of something like 770,000
hectares that should have been back burned and the actual
number was something only about 200,000.
We have a record
amount of fuel load and that's… [interrupted by Piers Morgan]."
Columbia-based forest microclimate specialist, Rob Scagel,
agrees with Kelly, saying,
"Fuel load rules.
and intellectual capital on climate change considerations is as
effective at mitigating bushfires as changing the color of the
paper used in reporting them."
Later in the interview,
Kelly pointed out that drought was also an important contributor to
the bushfires but explained,
"If you look at… the
long-term rainfall records in Australia, there is simply no
As CO2 has
increased there has been no trend. The first 20 years of this
century, we've had more rainfall in Australia than the first 20
years of the last century. "
Kelly was correct again.
Here is the graph of rainfall from the Australian Bureau of
Tiffany Taylor, an associate policy analyst for The
Heartland Institute, summarizes this issue well in the video
that may be viewed
In her attack on Kelly, Tobin mistakenly brought up on the "driest
year ever recorded" in 2019 as evidence of dangerous climate change.
But her comment is meaningless due to shortness of the record and
the fact that it takes 30 years of weather data to constitute a
single climate data point.
A record in one year, or
even several, proves nothing about climate.
Tobin also seems unaware
that, according to the BOM, rainfall during the northern wet season
has been considerably above average for the past two decades.
Watts Up With That, "The world's most viewed site on global
warming and climate change"
reported on January 16:
"If global warming
were to expand the tropical belt, pushing the Monsoon rains
south, Australia would likely receive more rainfall overall, not
So, Good Morning Britain
strikes out again...
Arson apparently also plays a significant role in Australian
ABC (Australia) News
reported in September 2019 that:
Dr Paul Read,
co-director of the National Centre for Research in Bushfire
and Arson, said the great majority of bushfires are
deliberately lit by,
and versatile criminals".
"About 85 per cent are related to human activity, 13 per
cent confirmed arson and 37 per cent suspected arson," he
"The remainder are usually due to reckless fire lighting or
even just children playing with fire."
And, of course, lightning
strikes cause many fires...
These strikes occur more
frequently in areas where fires occur because of the type of clouds
cumulonimbus, and the precipitation
Cumulonimbus are the only
clouds that produce lightning.
In recent weeks, various other parties have also blamed the
Australian bushfires on
global warming supposedly caused by
rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.
But, as so often occurs
in the climate change debate, they have their science backwards.
both act to increase soil moisture and so reduce the potential
rise, evaporation increases, causing more precipitation which
increases soil moisture and so lessens fire risk.
rises, stomata, the pores in plant leaves, are open for shorter
lengths of time.
Plants therefore lose
less water to the air and so more of it stays in the soil, again
reducing fire potential.
Australia is facing a horror bush fire season this year
which could bring the same consequences
as the blazes
tearing through the Amazon rainforest.
A closer look at the issue reveals that fire has benefits as well as
risk. Indeed, it is an essential part of the natural cycle. Fire
clears off dead debris as plants go through their lifecycle.
There is a special area
of botany called Fire Ecology that studies the role and
importance of fire in ecosystems.
In most ecologies,
especially forests, many plants require fire to soften or open the
seeds to start life, although the seed shell must survive the fire
One example of such a seed occurs in the vegetation of what is
called a Mediterranean climate.
California is an
example of this type.
It is a unique
climate zone because 70% of the precipitation occurs in the
All other climate
types have either 70% in summer or an even distribution
throughout the year.
A Mediterranean climate
results in a unique vegetation called
Maquis in Europe and
Chaparral in California. The annual
climate cycle that makes this an area that requires fire to be
healthy has a hot, dry, summer that shrivels the plant but the seeds
At the end of the summer,
lightning occurs as rain clouds begin to form, and that triggers
fires that burn off the plants but leave many of the seeds intact.
Mudslides follow as the rainy season progresses.
Fortunately, the seeds
germinate quickly and stabilize the soil.
The natural cycle of forest fires creates what are called crown
fires. They move through quickly, burning off dead debris but
leaving most of the plants still alive.
When governments decided
to stop forest fires, they upset the natural dynamics completely.
now populated by graduates of the biased environmental education
system, willingly allowed the environmental extremists' demands
to end the former sensible practice of cleaning the undergrowth.
that such forest tending was not 'natural,' when it was, in
fact, a reasonable facsimile of 'nature'.
So, the debris built
up, leaving the forest a tinder box ready to ignite.
Kelly sensibly concluded
on Good Morning Britain:
"To… hijack this [the
Australian bushfire] debate and exploit this tragedy to push
their [politicians'] ideological barrow that, somehow or other,
the Australian government could have done something by reducing
its carbon emissions that would have reduced these bushfires is
just complete nonsense."
This is, of course, true
but, sadly, senior Australian government MPs have distanced
themselves from Kelly's remarks.
The Guardian newspaper of the
U.K., Australian Minister for Water Resources, David Littleproud,
criticized Kelly's comments as a "sideshow."
"Our view of climate
change is that it's 'real.' We accept
If the Australian
government really accepted the science, then they should be boosting
Kelly's remarks and encouraging him to loudly contest more
'know-nothing' climate alarmist news media...