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Bushfires Release Over Half Australia’s Annual Carbon Emissions

  • NASA, EU estimates show emissions running ahead of last year
  • Bushfires start early, last longer due to droughts, heatwaves
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The unprecedented bushfires devastating swathes of Australia have already pumped out more than half of the country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions in another setback to the fight against climate change.

Fires blighting New South Wales and Queensland have emitted a combined 306 million tons of carbon dioxide since Aug. 1, which is more than half of Australia’s total greenhouse gas footprint last year, according to Niels Andela, an assistant research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and collaborator with the Global Fire Emissions Database. That compares with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service’s estimate of 270 million tons in just over four months.