Is it okay to talk about climate change yet?

 

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has rebuked Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt, accusing him of politicising the NSW bushfires.

“There has been a terrible tragedy in NSW and no one anywhere should seek to politicise any human tragedy let alone a bushfire of this scale,” Mr Hunt said.

—The Australian

 

Is it okay to talk about climate change yet? Or should we wait until the fires stop?

What if they keep burning for weeks?

What if the fires go all summer? Do we wait until the weather cools down?

If the fires stop, and we start talking about climate change, but then the fires start again, should we stop talking about climate change?

We were talking about climate change when the fires started. Should we have stopped?

If carbon-tax legislation is before parliament and the fires are still going, can we talk about that?

Does everyone need to not talk about climate change? Should climate scientists find something else to talk about while the fires are burning?

What’s the minimum distance you should be away from the fires to talk about climate change? Do you need to be overseas?

Or is Tasmania far enough away? Perth?

Can someone who’s been affected by the fires talk about climate change? What about their close friends? Or relatives? What if they ask us about climate change? Can we respond?

Can a fire-fighter talk about it?

If we can’t talk about climate change, can we at least talk about unseasonal weather extremes? (Can people in Canberra talk about the severe frosts?)

So, we can talk about the weather, but not the climate?

Or can we talk about climate change, just not in political terms?

What do people mean by ‘politicising’ climate change? Is that the same as talking about it? Or is it talking about doing something about it that's the problem?

When people are killed by guns, can we talk about gun control?

In a shark attack, can we tell people to get out of the water?

Who do we ask to find out when we can talk about climate change again?

And is there anything else we shouldn’t be talking about, just to be sure?

Nick Feik

Nick Feik is the editor of The Monthly.

@nickfeik

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