One month ago NASA estimated that the recent bushfires in Australia released 250 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere, which is almost half of the country's annual emissions. The fires have been raging since then and the shit is getting worse – – getting worse. New research by scientists with the Global Fire Emissions Database shows that the bushfires have probably contributed 900 million tons of carbon, reports Bloomberg .
This means that the fires effectively doubled the country's annual greenhouse gas production . And if they were a country in itself, they would be the sixth largest national issuer in the world, between Japan and Germany .
Trees and other plants are usually a valuable source of carbon storage – they suck carbon from the air and store it in its trunks, branches, roots, and even in the ground. But when they burn they release all this carbon into the atmosphere. This carbon continues to heat the planet and creates a catastrophic feedback loop of more warming and fire hazard.
Scientists in the Global Fire Emissions Database estimate that Australian bushfires have released 900 million tons of carbon dioxide this season, but emissions could drop, according to Bloomberg, between 650 million tons and 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide. However, despite this great scope, researchers are confident that this is the most carbon-rich Australian bushfire season ever recorded.
Australia finally sees something badly needed rain but that's not enough put out all fires. On Monday, more than 80 burned .
The fires have continued since September. So far, they have killed at least 30 people, burned 26.4 million acres of land, and destroyed over 2,000 homes. They destroyed most of the forest in the Blue Mountains and most of the rainforests of the Gondwana World Heritage, killed more than a billion animals and created a public health emergency and caused absolute devastation among the Aborigines. Even BHP, Australia's largest mining company says that their coal production declined because the bushfire smoke made it difficult to operate the equipment, so there was at least poetic justice.
These fires were fueled by the climate crisis. Temperatures reached a record high in 2019 . The island was also record dry, so the plants were ready to burn and the fires could ignite again.
Despite all this, Prime Minister Scott Morrison does not stop calls from his own party (and from the streets ) to introduce a climate policy that is consistent with this, the crisis before it is getting more and more out of control. And really, what other evidence does he need that this is an emergency?