A wise silence. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is showing some political nous in largely avoiding the debate about the role of global warming in the New South Wales bushfires. The apparent involvement of the army in starting the worst of the fires just makes it even less likely than ever that the voting public will accept the argument that having a price on carbon is in anyway relevant to the loss of 200 houses in the Blue Mountains.

If Labor wants to make a contribution to stopping the rise in global temperatures, the sensible course would be to start seriously advocating a global solution. Australia on its own can put whatever price it likes on carbon emissions but it will be nothing but a futile gesture unless the rest of the world follows suit.