Australian PM concedes mistakes, but likely won't drastically shift climate policy in light of fires

Tim O'Donnell

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday conceded he's made some mistakes since the worst season of bushfires ever recorded in Australia broke out, The New York Times reports. He said he wouldn't have taken a heavily criticized family vacation to Hawaii in December while firefighters battled the blazes if he knew what he knows now, while acknowledging there were things he "could have handled on the ground much better."

He also called for a government inquiry into its response to the natural disaster. At least 28 people have been killed in the fires, including a firefighter who died overnight in the state of Victoria.

But despite the government now having a "new appetite" to take on a more direct role in the reaction to the fires, Morrison's words won't be of much comfort to everyone. David Speers, the journalist who interviewed the prime minister Sunday, said his commitments will still likely fall short of many Australians' hopes. Many feel Morrison, who leads the conservative Liberal Party, has implemented weak policies that have failed to curb the country's carbon emissions, and his plan in wake of the fires doesn't appear to be a dramatic shift toward combating climate change. Instead, he reiterated he doesn't want to put jobs at risk or raise taxes to lower emissions, and would rather enhance the country's policies for disaster management and relief, which he believes is just "as much a climate change response as emissions reductions." Read more at The New York Times and BBC.

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