How soon is too soon? There’s a question. How soon in the delicate tangle of grief, shock and disbelief that accompanies disaster can we entertain examinations of cause and effect?

Crikey copped a fair bit of flak for running with a piece yesterday from Clive Hamilton that suggested we should look long and hard at the link between extreme fire events and our changing — warming — climate. Others are asking similar questions now … climate change is a live issue and one that is germane to the anxious, sometimes angry discussion that is forming in the wake of the Victorian disaster.

There must be more to this process than simply the endless recitation of loss, sympathy and shock that for the moment is dominating much of the media. We need to look to reasons and learn what lessons we may. The Victorian Premier’s call for a Royal Commission so promptly in this sad aftermath — this ongoing crisis — is a welcome sign that authorities intend to take things seriously, to question all orthodoxies.

In that context climate change must have a seat at the table. To discuss climate change is not in itself a political act. Climate change is what is happening to our world, as real as fire and flood.

Peter Fray

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