From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much.
Mains level : Paper 1-Climate change,Forest fires.
In Australia, forest fires, among the worst in the country’s history, have been raging since September and show no signs of abating.
Unabated fire in Australia
- The fire, worst in Australia’s history, has been raging since September and shows no signs of abating.
- At least 24 people lost their lives, 500 million animal have perished, and more than 12bn acres of land has turned to cinders.
- New South Wales, the country’s worst-affected state, declared an emergency last week in its southeastern region.
Climate change and the fire
- Australians have vented their anger at Prime Minister for playing down the blaze’s association with climate change.
- Bushfires are actually a part of Australia’s ecosystem. Many plants depend on them to cycle nutrients and clear vegetation.
- Eucalyptus trees in Australia depend on fire to release their seeds.
- The prolonged blaze this year has coincided with Australia’s harshest summer.
- Parts of the country recorded their highest recorded temperature in December.
- Much of Australia is facing a drought that is a result of three consecutive summers with very little precipitation.
- This, according to climate scientists, is unprecedented.
- Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s 2018 State of the Climate report had given a hint of the change.
- It said “Australia’s climate has warmed by just over 1 degree Celsius since 1910, leading to an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events.’’
- This has led to more rainfall in northern Australia but created drought-like conditions in the more densely populated southeast.
Damage caused to the flora and fauna of Australia
- Australia is home to nearly 250 animal species.
- Some of them like the koalas and kangaroos are not found elsewhere.
- The region also has the highest rate of native animals going extinct over the past 200 years.
- Experts, for example, reckon that more than a quarter of the koala habitat has been consumed by the blaze.
- The fires have also caused a drop in the bird, rodent and insect populations.
- These creatures perished are the building blocks of the ecosystem and the fall in their population is bound to have long-term impacts. In Australia’s bushfires lies a warning about the complex ways in which climate variables interact.