"Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change because of its hot, dry climate, with the nation's south and main food-growing area along the Murray-Darling river basin already gripped by a seven-year drought."
by Igor Lansorena
Australia's deadliest bushfires, and devastating floods in the nation's tropical north, will increase pressure on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to take firmer action on climate change, environmentalists said on Monday.
At least 108 people were killed in wildfires, fuelled by a record heatwave in southern Victoria state over the past two days, while large areas of Queensland state remain flooded.
Green groups said the severe weather was a result of climate change and would increase pressure on Rudd to take stronger action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming, when he introduces a new climate policy to parliament in May.
"Climate change is an issue like no other. As the impact continues to intensify, so too will the political pressure for action and events like this will become more commonplace," Climate Institute director John Connor told Reuters on Monday.
Australia has set a target to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2020, and will only cut further, to about 15 percent, if there is widespread international agreement on tougher action.
Green groups want the government to cut emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020, as an example to the developing world, particularly India and China, about the need to take firm action to stop global warming.
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