Brendan O’Neill surveys the gleeful coverage of Australia’s current weather as a divine retribution by “Mother Nature” for the evils mankind has wrought:
There is something very ugly about the commentary on Australia’s heatwave. There’s almost a palpable sense of glee among some green-leaning commentators that this coal-exporting, climate-change-denying nation is now being punished with fire. The message seems to be that Aussies deserve this scorching weather; they brought the hotness upon themselves through their temerity, through daring to exploit their country’s myriad natural resources and, even worse, daring to question the gospel of climate change.
The casualness with which observers have made a link between Australian people’s behaviour and beliefs and the current heatwave, as if alleged moral turpitude makes the weather, is striking. Even before any serious scientist has had time to assess the nature and origins of the heatwave, one of the Guardian‘s green reporters described the hotness Down Under as further evidence that “global warming is turning the volume of extreme weather up, Spinal Tap-style, to 11″. Taking his cue from the Middle Ages, when weather was also frequently given sentience, treated as the punisher of wicked men, the reporter says climate change, and its enabler climate change denial, is “loading the weather dice”. It is no coincidence, he says, that “the two nations in which the fringe opinions of so-called climate sceptics have been trumpeted most loudly — the US and Australia — have now been hit by record heatwaves and [superstorms]” — because apparently it is “shouting from sceptics” that prevents “clear political action to curb emissions” and which therefore unleashes yet more floods, storms, and presumably locusts at some point in the future.