Jan 10, 2020

Thousands protest for climate action in Australia as fires ravage continent

Participants hold placards as they take part in a demonstration demanding the government take immediate action against climate change in Sydney on Jan. 10. Photo: Mohammad Farooq/Getty Images

Thousands of protesters took to the streets across Australia on Friday, calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to resign for what they call inaction on climate change and an inadequate response to the bush fire crisis that has scorched the continent, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Morrison's stance on climate-related issues has come under scrutiny throughout the deadly wildfire season. In particular, his "reputation as a coal advocate has not helped as he has struggled to project empathy for victims of the fires," the Post writes.

  • Protesters in nine Australian cities chanted "ScoMo has got to go" — using the prime minister's nickname, per the Post.

What's happening: Nearly 10,000 people stormed the streets in Melbourne, per the Post. The demonstrations prompted state leader, Daniel Andrews, to call for protesters to stop diverting resources from emergency personnel.

  • Tens of thousands of activists also rallied in Sydney, according to ABC News.

The other side: Conservative leader Morrison proposed outlawing climate activism, saying it disrupts the nation's mining industry, Deutsche Welle reports.

The big picture: The deadly blazes continue as 147 burn across New South Wales, and 67 have yet to be contained, according to News.com.au. At least 1,995 homes have been destroyed and more than 1 billion animals are estimated to have died in the fires.

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Australia's deadly fires: What you need to know

The Australian flag flies under red skies from fires on Jan. 4 in Bruthen, Victoria. Photos: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

The Orroral Valley fire has burned through nearly 25% of the district that's home to Australia's capital, News.com.au reports, after ACT Emergency Controller Georgeina Whelan said the fire was rapidly growing into the south east on Saturday.

The latest: The Orroral fire grew from 81,544 acres to at least 129,073 acres on Saturday, based on Whelan's initial statement, and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr's following estimate. Whelan said the Orroral fire is expected to move "well into" New South Wales, which creates potential for it to reach and merge with other bushfires in the area.

Clouds from Australia's extreme fires can be seen from space

Photo: NASA

The sheer size and scale of the fires raging in Australia can perhaps best be seen from space.

The big picture: Australia's extreme fires have been made worse by climate change, which exacerbated the country's hot and dry conditions.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020

Australian stock market hits record high despite deadly wildfires

Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Facing unprecedented wildfires that have claimed at least 27 lives, destroyed more than 2,000 homes, and scorched much of the country's southeast, Australia's stock market has somehow been one of the world's top performers, and touched a record high today.

By the numbers: The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rallied nearly 1% to close at 6929, surpassing the previous intraday record high.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020