'Climate change part of Queensland's bushfire problem'
THE bushfire crisis engulfing Queensland is "just the sort of consequence we have been warned to expect" from climate change.
That is the view of Professor Ian Lowe, who is a member of the Queensland Government's senior climate change body, the Queensland Climate Advisory Council.
As the Fraser Coast braces for an early start to the fire season, Prof Lowe said the overall pattern being seen was exactly what had been predicted over the past 30 years of climate research.
He said while no single event good be wholly blamed on climate change, signs of climate change included warmer and drier weather - perfect conditions for bushfires.
Prof Lowe said while the issue of climate change needed to be addressed, in the meantime action could be taken to reduce the risks.
At a community level, that included clearing around homes and ensuring gutters were free of debris.
More broadly, it meant addressing the forces causing climate change, such as new coal mines and gas production.
"We have to be reducing the amount of fossil fuels we are burning," Prof Lowe said.
He said Australia could be doing more to address the issue.
"Australia by itself can't solve the problem," he said.
"But we could have been doing more - we've known about the science and accepted it more than 20 years ago."
Prof Lowe said while climate change wouldn't mean a disastrous fire season every year, when some years were drier than average, that created the conditions which could lead to a severe fire season.