Inside Story

Is climate change the burning issue in Australia?

Raging bushfires in Australia reignite the debate over climate change, with the government accused of not doing enough.

Bushfires are common during the summer in Australia, but firefighters said this year’s conditions are catastrophic.

At least eight people have been killed since September, including two firefighters who died on Thursday when their truck was hit by a falling tree.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison cut short his holiday to Hawaii and issued a rare public apology in response to mounting anger.

Australia’s not alone in having to deal with ferocious fires this year. There were more than 1,600 recorded in Europe, large parts of the Amazon rainforest have been destroyed, and tens of thousands of hectares of land and hundreds of buildings in California.

And we’ve seen wildfires in the Arctic, too – more than 100 – a sign of warming conditions in one of the coldest places on Earth.

Is the political will there to tackle the problem?

Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault


Peter Newman – Professor of sustainability at Curtin University

Martin Wooster – Professor and chairman of Earth observation science at King’s College London

Emmanuel Raju – Associate professor of disaster risk management at the University of Copenhagen