The debate regarding climate change, particularly those caused by ravaging bushfire, have highlighted the public focus on the roles of managing fire and climate change. The international community joins hands in the criticism of the lack of political goodwill in dealing with the issue of climate change, particularly bushfire in Australia. In contemporary society, mainly in Australia, environmental concerns are not far behind the economy and health in the citizen’s concerns. One of the most troublesome issues for government leaders in the economic costs associated with mitigating the climate change mess.
Given the dimensions of the destruction, the costs can run up to billions. Reduced economic activity during the bushfire season or black summer has been a plague that warrants immediate interventions. Economic growth is usually anaemic during this time of year. Credible land and climate management policies will prove to be worthwhile to ensure that the country is adequately prepared to face the next disaster. Therefore, the recurring nature of these problems warrants immediate political reforms.
The debate over climate has culminated into a cultural war issue as years advance to the point where it has proven to be a tool for flexing political ideologies of leaders. The use of climate change to leverage on an idealistic political standpoint has led to poor execution of plans and bureaucratic difficulties. The use of climate change issues for political ideologies stems from the fact that climate change has an unprecedented impact on many agents of the economy, particularly the emotive carbon emissions standards, electricity bills, adoption of electric vehicles, and agriculture. Therefore, the issue of bushfire and climate change deserves recalibration of the national policies on climate change and the fostering of multiagency coordination in dealing with the problems above.
Increasing the finding for devolved bushfire fighting agencies is warranted as opposed to “knee-jerk “response to the recurring issues. Climate change warrants immediate response given the unprecedented influence climate change has on both Australia’s and global economy. The climate change problems stem from the conservative policies towards fossil fuel that has rendered the country’s climate policies to be skewed towards certain energy sources at the expense of others. since the underlying problems are policy-related, there is urgent need for electing the leaders that have the political will of fixing the cyclical bushfires in Australia.
The socioeconomic impacts of bushfire and climate change in the general warrant the need for public-private partnership in confronting the issue. The devastating consequences of loss of lives, destruction of infrastructure, and wildlife warrant agent measures to control the dire situation. The recurrent nature of bushfires incidents every summer in Australia is an indication for widespread plan failure and lack of political goodwill. The short-term and long-term solutions that can deal with the issue are myriad but, more specifically, increasing funding to devolved firefighting agencies. Additionally, improving multiagency coordination and reducing the redundant and bureaucratic government agencies such as royal commission and other parliamentary inquiries that investigate the climate change crisis. Away from that, another politically-focused is comforting and dealing with the far-right elements within the Australian government, that involving vested political party ideology, and standpoints.
Media coverage has illustrated how bushfire that sweeps over Australia during summer has unprecedented repercussions on human well-being, wildlife, and infrastructure. More importantly, it has put the current leadership in a dilemma; whether to confront the established elements within the government or land, a blind eye continues with the status quo that may lead to a decline in Australia climate reforms. Bush fires have unparalleled socio-economic impacts on Australian people. Heatwaves and bushfire during the black summer have contributed to the climate-related death toll and loss of property in the country; the air quality in Sydney has continued to a degree to deteriorate, leading to the increase in hospital submissions that are characterised by breathing problems.
Ironically, the agencies that are mandated for coordinating the national response to emergency and disasters had to close the office due to the low quality of air. The current leadership has shown to be pro-fossil in agenda planning and implementation leading to a lack of capacity for critical parastatals such as the Rural Fire Service. The lack of capacity support for Rural Fire Service (RFS) has been cited as the major cause of people losing their homes to fire.
Away from that, poor planning and forecasting have been attributed to administration bottlenecks that are often present in the bureaucratic regimes like Australia. For instance, the deployment of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) to assist the fire-affected region has led to public outcry from various factions. For example, the Australian Defence Association (ADA) accused the Prime Minister of the escalated use of ADF in not only augmenting firefighting efforts but also partisan purposes that are political.
Specifically, party-political advertising that leverages the ASF support for civil agencies that fight bushfire was cited as a breach of the non-partisanship and independence convention that applies to both ministers and ASF. Disjointed multiagency coordination is a significant contributor to failed planning and execution of firefighting plans. For instance, local fire and emergency leaders have voiced their frustration by the Prime Ministers reflex political response to the climate change issues given that there were information asymmetries between the mandated departments and the deployed ADF. Consequently, climate change problems deserve scientific solutions rather than political-ideological standpoint enforcement.
In contemporary society, global warming has joined guns, gays, abortion, God, and anti-immigration as one of the most pressing cultural issues. Political hegemony, poor planning, and management, lack of expedited transformational reforms, and lack of socioeconomic and political goodwill are some of the underlying factors that contribute to the proliferation of climate change, particularly bushfires. Australia politicians are therefore required to be on the frontline listening to the people given that the effects of climate change have compounding effects on other sectors of the economy. Therefore, there is a need for elected politicians to recalibrate the approach used to tackle the problem of climate change. More than five hundred Australians died from heatwaves last year. Natural disasters are expected to have an economic cost of approximately A $ 39 billion by 2050, which is close to the Australian budget allocation for defence.
Elected politicians need to show empathy, not political strategies. Australian expect the leaders to go and witness the situation on the ground by himself or herself to get the true nature of the dire situation and in the process instil confidence to recovery for those affected. Commonwealth has a shared mandate to assist the member states in coping with the fallout of natural disasters, as was the case in Australia. Although the prime minister recently made a declaration for the formation of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and government commission to look into bushfire crises, the move will likely yield substandard results given the need for public participation to enact the necessary laws and policies. Moreover, these agencies will just add to the already bloated bureaucratic agencies that are already set up with respect to tackling bushfire and climate change.
The public fires come in the wake of increasing public engagement with policy and climate change due to the prevalence of media coverage. The rampant awareness and incidence of bushfire have sparked dialog about climate change in developed countries. The shift is fuelled by the need for policy reforms and political action. The scientific evidence increasingly indicates that reforms need to be put in place to combat the adverse effects of climate change, especially to countries in the global south. For instance, changes in weather patterns have led to rampant desertification and flooding in Africa, altering crop output and threatening food security. Additionally, low-lying countries in the pacific island like Samoa have been calling for mitigation of climate change because they lose land due to rising sea levels. The effects of climate change have already been experienced in Australia – notably loss of reef and coral bleaching.
Thus, there is a direct influence of climate change on people and their everyday lives. Although the majority of Australians have already been affected by fire, the widespread impact lately poses a significant threat to “double reality” in industrialised countries. “Double island-like because although these industrialised nations accept the science of climate change, the impacts are discussed on a different forum leading to a conundrum. The acclimatisation of these positions as the new norm is one of the contributors to flawed or misplaced priorities with regard to combating climate change.
Although the public has the education and awareness on the upwards implications of climate change, poor planning and mismanagement counter the positive effects of the institutions that are set up to manage climate change. For instance, there have been cases where the educational and infrastructure set forth for the study of climate change impacts, become flawed, and in turn, leads to treating climate change itself.
Despite the dire warning of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Australian leaders are still keen on preserving the fossil source of energy-because the industry is a significant donor to the ruling party. The ultimate lack of political will was demonstrated by the ruling conservative party leader- Scott Morrison went on vacation while the bushfires was ravaging the country back in mid-December last year. Moreover, while the incidence was taking place, the leaders of the opposition party apparently went on an official tour of the coal mining areas thereby expressing the unequivocal moral and financial support to the coal-exporting communities in the area. In contemporary Australia, the established political regime is sclerotic towards growth and is mired in its own fantasies but the monstrous reality of the effects of climate change continue to ravage society with lack of political will, poor disaster management and bureaucratic.
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