After the Fires: Australia’s Reckoning on Climate Change

A firefighter manages a controlled burn near Tomerong, Australia, in an effort to contain a larger fire nearby, Jan. 8, 2020 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).
A firefighter manages a controlled burn near Tomerong, Australia, in an effort to contain a larger fire nearby, Jan. 8, 2020 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).
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There was a time when it was widely asserted that the onset of climate catastrophe would shove society out of its complacency and into aggressive support for action to address climate change. Once the consequences of burning so many fossil fuels were felt not just by those least responsible for the bulk of emissions, in the Global South, but in wealthier countries too, the argument went, the problem would shift from being an abstract warning from scientists to a clear and present danger. The season of bushfires that raged in Australia from December 2019 to February 2020—known locally as the […]

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