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Australian PM Defends Bushfire efforts, Denies Climate Change Links

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Canberra (Australia), – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday defended his government’s action on climate change after coming under pressure over the handling of the bushfire crisis in the Easter part of the country.

Morrison, however, said that there was no direct link between any of the fires that had so far raged across eastern Australia and his climate change policies.

He said the “drought, the dryness of the bush” was the biggest factor in the disastrous bushfires that had already burnt more than 2.7 million hectares of land in eastern Australia since October.

“We also know that there are many contributing factors that relate to these fires, Climate change, along with many other factors, contributes to what is occurring today.
“Climate change is a global challenge. “Australia is playing our role as part of this global challenge,” he said.

Morrison’s comments came just a day after tens of thousands of people gathered in smoke-choked Sydney to demand urgent and serious climate action from the conservative government.

Morrison, who is a strong coal supporter, has refused to be drawn into a discussion on climate change’s impact on bushfires, even after Australian scientists said it strongly increases the risk of blazes.

The scientists also said that it could as well intensify the length of the fire season.
Morrison said linking bushfires to climate policy was misconstruing the issue.

“We need to reduce emissions and that’s what is being achieved.
“Even that achievement cannot be directly linked to a reduction or an increase in the risk of bushfire in Australia, because climate change is a global phenomenon,” he said

However, for sometimes now, Sydney, where Morrison was born and raised, had been blanketed by toxic smoke pollution as the state continued to be ravaged by devastating bushfires.

“I know as a Sydneysider … I’ve lived all my life, pretty much, in Sydney, and the haze that has come from those fires, I know has been deeply troubling to Sydneysiders.
“But the country is coming together to deal with the firefighting challenge that we have,“ he said. 

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