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New Photos of Australia’s Record-Breaking Bushfires Show Life in a State of Climate Emergency

by Ryan Schleeter

January 17, 2020

January 17, 2020 — Greenpeace photographers in Australia have captured new images of the climate-fueled bushfire crisis and its aftermath. The images — which include photo and video of smoke-stricken cities, destroyed homes, struggling wildlife, and firefighting efforts — are available here: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ8B632Q

Dr. Nikola Casule, Head of Research and Investigations for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said:

“These catastrophic bushfires are driven by climate change and are destroying lives, homes, and choking people in our major cities. Australian families deserve better than the profound lack of leadership shown by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. We deserve swift and decisive action to address the climate crisis that is hurting so many Australian communities right now, starting with increased funding to our firefighting services, and a commitment to phasing out coal as Australia’s number one driver of climate change.”

“Scott Morrison needs to come clean with the Australian people, silence the denialists in his government, and rapidly replace Australia’s aging and unreliable coal-burning power stations with clean energy like wind and solar.”

Key facts about Australia’s bushfires:

  • At least 29 lives have been lost across Australia this fire season, including four volunteer firefighters.
  • More than 2,100 homes have been lost across Australia, including nearly 1,100 in 2020 alone.
  • The insurance bill is already estimated at $995 million AUD ($686 million USD), but the overall economic impact is estimated to rise well into the billions.
  • Officially, nearly 11 million hectares — an area larger than the state of Tennessee — has burned.
  • More than 1 billion animals and hundreds of billions of insects have perished in the fires.
  • Air pollution in the cities of Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra has routinely been among the most harmful in the world, exacerbating respiratory problems for the young, elderly pregnant women and those with pre-existing conditions like asthma.
  • 2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year on record, confirming that bushfire seasons will run longer and more intensely into the future.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take climate change seriously and protect Australian families by urgently reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, which have been rising for the past four years.

ENDS

Contacts:

Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: [email protected], +1 (415) 342-2386

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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