Australian bushfires
Australian bushfires BBC

The deadly Australian bushfire has opened up a new debate as to its cause. While there have been claims that it’s due to climate change, there are also those who believe that it is actually caused by arson.

“The arson is not caused by climate change,” Liberal MP Craig Kelly said on ABC's RN Breakfast show as reported by Daily Mail. He also claimed that an “unprecedented number of people” have already been arrested and charged with arson in connection with the bushfire.

In an earlier interview on Good Morning Britain, Kelly shocked people when he claimed that there was “no link” between the fire and climate change. “What causes the main thing of the fires is the build-up of the fuel on the ground and the drought,” Kelly told the show’s hosts Piers Morgan and Laura Tobin.

But Tobin was not impressed by Kelly’s explanations and highlighted Australia’s unwillingness to commit to reducing carbon emissions. “We want everyone in the world to lower the global temperature rise by 1.5C, you [Australia] can't even commit to 2C,” Tobin said. “You have the second-highest carbon emission on earth and you are burying your head in the sand. You're not a climate skeptic - you're a climate denier.”

After the show, the controversial MP sparked outrage once more when she called Tobin ignorant on social media. “Oh no! Ignorant Pommy weather girl calls me a ‘climate change denier,’” in a Twitter post that has since been deleted, according to SBS.

Tobin hit back by stating her credentials on social media. “I'm a meteorologist: a degree in physics and meteorology, four years as an aviation forecaster at the RAF, twelve years as a broadcast meteorologist, attended a WMO climate course last year and up to date with all the science,” Tobin tweeted with the hashtag #NotAWeatherGirl.

According to Daily Mail, more than 180 people have already been arrested for deliberately setting bushfires. In New South Wales south coast alone, 29 of the blazes were deliberately lit.

“Police are well aware that we need to take action against people, whatever that might be, in this time it is particularly a heightened risk of fire activity and we've seen the devastation it causes,” NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said. “We make no apologies for being so vigilant about that.”

Worboys believe that these vanity arsonists did it for the attention. “It's got to the stage where they're seeing all the publicity on the fires … and they get bit of a buzz because of all the attention,” the deputy commissioner added.

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