Headlines for January 9, 2020

In news on climate change, a new analysis from one of the world’s largest insurance companies says hurricanes, wildfires and floods cost $150 billion globally in 2019 and that this figure is expected to increase in the coming years. In Australia, the death toll from the raging, climate-fueled wildfires has again risen — to 27 people and an estimated 1 billion animals. This is Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison: “There are 27 confirmed fatalities, and there have been, on this morning’s reports to us, 2,131 homes lost, but I’m sure over the course of the day, as further damage assessments have been undertaken, particularly in Victoria, these numbers continue to sadly change, and they continue to escalate. Fire weather is increasing in the south and east today, and it will spike along the east coast tomorrow.”

Prime Minister Morrison has opposed efforts to curb catastrophic climate change, and he famously brought a lump of coal to the floor of Parliament in 2017 to mock opposition lawmakers. Meanwhile, conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, The Australian, has repeatedly claimed that this year’s fires are not worse than in years past. In fact, scientists say this year’s fire season has scorched more of New South Wales than in the previous 15 years combined. His media company, News Corp, has also spread misinformation that has inflated the role of arsonists in the fires and has downplayed the role of climate change.

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