Raging wildfires scorch Australian economy

A nearly four-month-old wildfire could make Australia’s national treasure an “endangered species.” The wildfire, which was in the spotlight, dates back to September last year. At the time, thousands of bushfires were burning in Queensland and New South Wales on Australia’s east coast. Since then, the wildfires have gradually spread to the south. By 2020, the spreading wildfires have not slowed down.

Raging wildfires scorch Australian economy

The wildfires, aided by record high temperatures, unusually dry spring and high winds, have burned more than 10 million hectares, the equivalent of Austria’s territory, killing at least 30 people, destroying hundreds of homes and destroying millions of animals. Local Media in Australia has described the wildfire as the “worst ever” fire.

Xiaohua, a Chinese who has lived in Melbourne for more than a decade, told First Financial that he could smell the burning smell in the air in the CBD in the city centre, and that “smoke masks are now very popular”. Sydney, Australia’s largest city, has also begun to impose water restrictions early. The still-burning wildfire is putting Australia to the test.

As of 21:00 local time on the 13th, a total of 105 wildfires in NSW are still burning, of which 38 are uncontrolled. According to the latest statistics, a total of 2176 homes have been burned in NSW and another 850 have been destroyed by wildfires. And with the fire not yet under control, these numbers are still being updated.

Chen Hong, director of the Australian Research Center at East China Normal University, told First Financial Reporter sin that the situation in Australia’s mountain fires will not necessarily improve in the next one to two months. After all, the hottest season for Australia has just begun, and “the Morrisons government is still under enormous pressure.” “

Biological population or change

How serious is this raging wildfire?

In new South Wales, where wildfires are hard hit, 4.9 million hectares have been overfired between July 2019 and January 8, 2020. For Australia, which is located in the southern hemisphere, the current summer is just over half way, far exceeding the state’s average monthly burn area of 2.8 million hectares over the past 50 years.

Where the fires go is also changing Australia’s unique biological population. At present, according to Australian media reports, the fire has caused nearly 500 million animals (birds, mammals, reptiles) buried in the sea. More than 20,000 koalas have died in wildfires on Australia’s Kangaroo Island.

Australia’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, has warned that koalas could be re-listed as endangered in some areas. It’s not just slow-moving koalas, but even the kangaroos who can’t run and jump can’t run the fire. 3, Australia’s third-largest island Kangaroo Island was hit by a wildfire, the forest burned an area of 150,000 hectares.

While Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s most populous and second-largest cities, were not directly affected by the fire, they were also on standby. A state of emergency has been declared in and around Sydney on November 11 last year, the first time in Australia’s largest city and surrounding area has ever faced the highest fire warning in history.

Sydney is already suffering from drought. Sydney has imposed a first-class water restriction order since June last year. This is the first time in a decade that Sydney has imposed a water restriction.

According to local Chinese Xiao Zhou told First Financial Reporter, the first-level water restriction order is to limit all outdoor water use. For example, residents can only water lawns and gardens with hoses before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., hoses must be fitted with nozzles that control water flow, automatic sprinkler systems are prohibited, and vehicles can only be cleaned with buckets, high-pressure cleaning equipment or hoses with trigger nozzles.

The area may face a water crisis as the fire spreads in Sydney’s suburbs.

The NSW Department of Water’s website, where Sydney is located, shows that dam levels in the Sydney area are currently 42.8 per cent. Once reduced to 40%, a secondary water limit order is triggered. Nsw was due to introduce a secondary water restriction order in early February. Today, the water limit may be ahead of schedule.

The smoke from the wildfires has not only damaged Australia’s own ecological environment, but also affected neighbouring New Zealand. Satellite cloud images released by NASA show that smoke from Australian wildfires also briefly drifted across the sea to South America 12,000 kilometers away.

Extreme weather back pot?

Mountain fires are not uncommon in Australia.

Chen Hong pointed out that Australia’s unique eucalyptus tree because of its non-deciduous but peeling and dense growth characteristics, has been proved by the scientific community and can not be separated from the mountain fire. “The flame will go up to the leaves with the burning bark. The leaves of the eucalyptus tree are oily, produce oil and gas at high temperatures, and when blown by the wind, the flame can easily burn from one tree to another. “So, in Australia’s flat terrain, dense forests and ecological conditions, once a fire is caught, the fire is generally very dangerous. “

Why is this wildfire so intense in 2019? Chen Hong told First Financial Reporter that the mountain fire, which bed last year, has three different characteristics than in previous years. First, in 2019, northern Australia has experienced severe drought and has not been alleviated. Low humidity, combined with above-ground leaves and pile-ups of dead wood, are highly prone to spontaneous combustion, and, secondly, Australia experienced persistent high temperatures during the summer, which began last November, with temperatures frequently soaring to 40C.

Earlier this year, the World Meteorological Organization gave an “iron proof”: 2019 was the second hottest year on record. Australia also had its hottest year on record on record, following a global warming trend. “Extremely dry, high-temperature climates are prone to dry thunderstorms, coupled with some man-made fire stouss, which can also cause combustion. Chen Hong said.

Third, Chen Hong stressed that every year Australia’s mountain fires generally start from the hot north, slowly spreading south, “but this year there is high temperatures everywhere, resulting in wildfires everywhere.” First New South Wales, then Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and even Tasmania, there are only northern territories characterized by deserts and marshes that have not been hit by wildfires. “

Severe climate change foreshadows the most severe wildfires of the future, which have caught Australia’s fire-fighting system off guard. Chen Hong told the first financial reporter, because Australia is sparsely populated, so the use of fire volunteer service system, “usually pay attention to fire training, fire will be organized to extinguish the fire, so that both economic and practical.” In Mr Chan’s view, this year’s wildfires across Australia have led to a shortage of firefighting resources. “Firefighting is primarily led by each state, and the federal government generally does not step in. Because of the different fires in each state, the lack of uniform fire departments at the central level and the lack of coordination between state and state, federal and state governments, this has led to the current situation of inadequate fire fighting. He said.

Drag on GDP growth

Westpac expects losses to date to reach A$5 billion (About Rmb23.8 bn), which is higher than the 2009 Victoria Fire and could pull down Australia’s overall gross domestic product by 0.2 to 0.5 percentage points last year.

Chen Hong told the first financial reporter, Australia’s air transport, shipping, agriculture and tourism will be affected by the mountain fire.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that In the third quarter of 2019, Australia’s GDP grew by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter. “The continuation of the wildfires will have a significant impact on Australia’s GDP performance in the fourth quarter of last year, even without ruling out negative values, pulling down the final figure for the whole of last year,” he said. Chen Hong said.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia senior analyst Ryan Felsman said consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in more than four years last week as a result of the fire. Now, according to Australian media reports, economists have cut their forecast for Australia’s GDP for 2019 to 1.8 per cent, down from 1.9 per cent, well below the 2.7 per cent forecast at the start of last year.

Many analysts believe the fire is likely to prompt the RBA to enact policies to stimulate the economy, at least until the central bank adjusts its monetary policy to zero or near zero.

Australia is also one of the most popular outbound destinations for the Chinese Spring Festival. For the upcoming 2020 Lunar New Year, has booked a ticket decided to take the family in Australia for the Spring Festival small money told the first financial reporter, for the mountain fire or a little worry, mainly in the air pollution concerns.

Phillipa Harrison, director-general of tourism, told the Australian Tourism Board’s official website that while the wildfires still had an impact on parts of Australia, many places were not affected and most tourist attractions were still operating normally, and all tourists planning to visit Australia were advised to keep a close eye on the latest fires before travelling.

In the face of a continuing wildfire, australian media on Wednesday polled 1505 voters showed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval rating plummeted by 8 percentage points to its lowest level since taking over as Liberal leader in August 2018.

Mr Morrison’s slow response to the unprecedented wildfire crisis has come under fire from many in Australia. On December 22 last year, Mr Morrison held a press conference to apologise for taking his family on holiday abroad despite the wildfire-ravaged emergency. Morrison announced on the 6th the establishment of a new agency, responsible for disaster relief and reconstruction, in the next two fiscal years will be allocated an additional 2 billion Australian dollars (about 9.7 billion yuan) for the reconstruction of forest fires. On the 12th, Morrison admitted that he had made mistakes in responding to the wildfire crisis.

In response, Chen Hong told First Financial That the lack of estimates of the mountain fire situation is the Morrison government’s main responsibility, “in the past year, the fire has increased, Morrison did not take practical measures.” In the long run, Mr Chan believes the Liberal government, represented by Mr Morrison, has in fact been pushing and not paying attention to the issue of climate change. “The Liberal Government has always emphasized economic development and has therefore refused to take practical measures to reduce emissions, which has been criticized at home and abroad. “Today, the known fact is that climate change is causing high temperatures, which exacerbate wildfires, but the Morrisons government is ignoring climate change. “In terms of carbon emissions per capita, THE OECD data for 2018 show australia’s per capita carbon emissions are 22 tonnes, higher than the US ‘s (17 tonnes). Australia has also lagged behind other countries in greenhouse gas emissions reductions over the past 20 years.