New South Wales police have charged more than 20 people with deliberately starting fires across Australia as the country beats back wildfires.
Meanwhile, activists and celebrities claim climate change played a part in the blaze.
The NSW Police Force has taken legal action against 180 people since the end of 2019, according to local reports.
Australian fires have killed 18 people and claimed the lives of hundreds of millions of animals.
Roughly 24 people have been charged for allegedly starting bushfires, while another 53 people allegedly failed to comply with a total fire ban. Dozens of people allegedly discarded cigarettes on dry land.
Many people blamed climate change for super-stoking Australia’s wildfires.
Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, for instance, said Sunday through a message delivered by actress Jennifer Aniston that global warming is partially to blame. She delivered the message at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony.
“Make no mistake,” wrote Crowe, who has a home in Australia. “The tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based.
“We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is.”
Russell Crowe won a #GoldenGlobes for his performance in “The Loudest Voice” but couldn’t attend the show because of the fires in Australia.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 6, 2020
Crowe won the best actor award for his role in “The Loudest Voice.”
The Washington Post’s Editorial Board also weighed in on the topic, telling its readers Monday that Australia’s wildfires should be a warning to the rest of the world and to those who are skeptical of climate change.
“If a Hollywood producer ordered up these images, they might be dismissed as too dramatic: orange skies; ash-filled rain; fire tornadoes; flames jumping as high as 230 feet; people huddling for shelter on the beach,” the editorial said. “Australia’s wildfires are a disaster on a scale hard to fathom, charring an area roughly the size of West Virginia. California’s massive 2018 blazes hit a sixth as much land as Australia’s have so far this fire season. Government officials report that a third of the koalas in New South Wales might be gone. The nation’s eucalyptus forests may be damaged for good.
“This is the future humanity is writing for itself, right now, every day world governments waste failing to respond to climate change.”
The Editorial Board then hedged by saying other factors are probably involved.
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