Kangaroo Island Mayor says Barack Obama ‘Wrong’ On Blaming Climate Change For Bushfires

  • Date: 12/01/20
  • ABC News

As almost half of Australia’s third-largest island burned, its Mayor used social media to criticise former US president Barack Obama for connecting what he called “the very real and very urgent consequences of climate change” with Australia’s bushfires. 

PHOTO: Kangaroo Island Mayor Michael Pengilly speaking to the media on Friday morning. (ABC News: Casey Briggs)

Kangaroo Island Mayor Michael Pengilly responded to a tweet by Barack Obama by saying climate change was not connected with the bushfire that has burnt almost half of the 4,400-square-kilometre island.

“So, so foolish in your pronouncement. My respect for you has totally evaporated. Pathetic,” Mr Pengilly said of the former president on Twitter.

Mr Obama had tweeted a New York magazine article criticising the lack of international media coverage of the blazes.

Twitter users called Mr Pengilly “puerile” and a “climate change denier”.

“Should be thrown on the political rubbish heap,” one user said.

“You are a fool to ignore science,” another person wrote.

“So,so foolish in your pronouncement. My respect for you has totally evaporated . Pathetic.”

Others, though, supported him. Mark Bell said Mr Pengilly had “led from the front” in responding to the Kangaroo Island bushfires.

He said it was “very, very unlikely” Mr Pengilly would have trouble being re-elected.

“He is a man of the land, a CFS [fire] volunteer and has been doing an amazing job of leading the community,” Mr Bell tweeted.

Mr Pengilly told ABC News that Mr Obama’s tweet “wasn’t helpful”.

“I don’t think he should have entered into it,” he said.

He said climate change was “not connected” with the Kangaroo Island fires, since bushfires would have regularly ravaged the island even before European settlement.

“They would have just burned themselves out until they got rained on,” he said.

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