CANBERRA, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Australia has always experienced bushfires but climate change is driving up the risk of fire danger weather, a new Bushfire Report from the Climate Council, an independent organization, warned on Monday.
The Climate Council is an Australian independent non-profit organization formed to provide Australians with clear, easy to understand facts on climate change. It was formed by former members of the Climate Commission after it was abolished by the coalition government. It is funded by donations from the public.
"People lose their lives in Australia due to fires, and property and infrastructure is also damaged. We must understand the risks of a changing climate to protect ourselves into the future," Chief Councilor, Professor Tim Flannery said in a statement on Monday.
According to Flannery, hot dry conditions are the ingredients for bushfires, and climate change is making conditions hotter and drier in the southeast and southwest of Australia.
The report finds that the number of record hot days has doubled in the last 50 years, heatwaves have become longer and more frequent, while some parts of the country are becoming drier.
"Extreme fire weather has already increased over the last 30 years, across the southeast of Australia where some of Australia's largest population centers are located," he said.
The fire season is getting longer with fire weather now extending into October and March, he said, adding, "This is reducing opportunities for hazard reduction burning meaning that there's less chance to safely reduce the fuel."
The report also finds that recent bushfires have been influenced by record hot dry conditions.
"NSW has experienced the hottest September on record; days well above average in October and exceptionally dry conditions. These conditions mean that fire risk has been extremely high and we have already seen severe bushfires in New South Wales before summer has even begun," the report said.
According to the report, fire frequency and intensity is expected to increase substantially in many regions, especially in those regions currently most affected by bushfires.
UN chief eyes agreement at next year's climate change talks in Lima
LIMA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday voiced the hope that next year's global climate change talks in Lima could produce a legal document and other joint measures.
The climate conference, to be held in the Peruvian capital on Dec. 1-12, 2014, will seek a global agreement in the fight against environmental degradation among officials and delegates from more than 190 countries. Full story