EARLIER this year the suffering from the Victorian bushfires, and that video of the fire fighter giving a koala a drink of water in a burnt-out forest, captured the imagination of people around the world.
At the time some media outlets blamed the ferocity of the fires on global warming and this assessment was supported by some authorities at reputable institutions including Melbourne University, the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology. Others disagreed and claimed inadequate controlled burning as a key issue.
The Premier of Victoria promised a Royal Commission into the fires and preliminary hearings started this week.
In response to the news that experts in bushfire mitigation and management, in particular Forest Fire Victoria Inc and the Bushfire Front Inc, will not be given leave to appear before the commission, David Ward commented, with some sarcasm at this blog earlier this week, that given we already know that the Victoria fires were caused by global warming and arsonists and that the purpose of the Royal Commission is to confirm this, of course the Royal commission won’t want to hear from practical bushfire experts.
There has been much sympathy for this assessment.
Since this comment, a list of those organizations that have been given leave to appear before the Royal Commission has been released and interestingly it also excludes those likely to push the global warming agenda.
Indeed it appears, at this early stage, that the commissioners may be seeking to sidestep all issues relating to causes of bushfires and what affects their speed and intensity including temperatures, fuel loads, wind speeds etcetera.
While this will be extremely disappointing for many, it is perhaps a practical strategy. Indeed it would be impossible for the Royal Commission to find against the prevailing consensus on climate change and at the same time difficult to find evidence in support of this so-called consensus.
Given the commission has given leave to appear to organisations with expertise in communications and building codes this may be where they intend to focus their efforts.
This would accord with government instructions that the commission make recommendations on planning schemes, including the need for bushfire shelters, and communication systems, including the effectiveness of current public warning systems.
These are important issues and I wish the commissioners well at the hearings and in their deliberations.
The video of the koala was taken following a back-burning operation that preceded the worst of the wildfires including Black Saturday.
Notes and Links
Applicants granted unconditional and conditional leave to appear can be found here
Wise Men Excluded from Bushfire Royal Commission
Victorian Bushfires: The Result of Human Folly