One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has angrily rejected suggestions that climate change has contributed to the scale of Australia’s unprecedented bushfire season.
In an almost five-minute diatribe on Channel Nine’s Today show on Monday, Ms Hanson said a build-up of fuel on the forest floor due to a lack of hazard reduction burns was to blame for the blazes that have devastated millions of hectares in southern Australia.
“It is a build-up of the fuel over a period of time – 30-plus years that it has come to this stage now,” she said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced the government would convene a royal commission into Australia’s devastating bushfires, which would look at the impact of climate change, the operational response at a state and local level and the role of the federal government.
“If you are going to have a royal commission into [bushfires], throw bloody climate change out of the window and let’s look at the pure facts of why we have had the bushfires,” the Queensland Senator said.
“How they were handled, what we can do better to stop it happening again – lowering the emissions as they are dead-set on doing,” she added.
“As far as predicting the climate change … they can’t even get my weather right and tell me if it’s going to rain,” Ms Hanson said in an apparent reference to meteorologists, or perhaps climate scientists.
“They can’t get it right over the next seven to 10 days and they’re trying to tell me what it is going to be like in the next hundred years,” she said.
Watch Pauline Hanson’s Today interview below:
“If you’re going to have a royal commission, then open it up. Let’s have the true facts,” Ms Hanson said.
She suggested people who were concerned about climate change should “take all the aeroplanes out of the sky” and stop driving cars.
Ms Hanson’s outburst comes the same day economist Ross Garnaut proposed Australia aim for a target of zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible or risk bushfire conditions deteriorating significantly.
Almost 12 years after he undertook a review for the then-Labor government that concluded climate change would make bushfires worse in Australia by 2020, Professor Garnaut told ABC radio our worsening bushfire conditions would continue until the world has zero net emissions.
“It’s really important that Australia be part of the international community that’s seeking more ambitious outcomes, rather than a drag on the global effort,” he said.
“We’ve been a drag in recent years.”