The New York Times published an article today correlating global warming to an increase in the amount of brush fires and drought in Australia. But there is no evidence suggesting that droughts or wildfires are more severe now than they have been in Australia’s past.
Australia has a long history of dealing with extended stretches of drought; many longer than the current six-year period that the article states is so extreme. For example, in 1895 through 1903 most of the continent was plagued by drought in varying degrees of severity. Again in 1958 for a stretch of 10 years the whole of Australia experienced a severe drought.
According to scientists, past droughts in Australia were caused, at least in part, by the the El NiÃ±o southern oscillation. But environmentalists seeking to pressure Australia, a country that, like the US refuses to ratify the Kyoto protocol, will use any weather-related event to try and convince the population that global warming is an eminent danger. And apparently, they are succeeding. A survey of 1,000 Australians referenced in the article concluded that 40% of Australians think global warming is a more serious threat than terrorism.