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Australians blame global warming for hottest decade

Australia experienced its hottest decade on record from 2000 to 2009 due to global warming, the nation's bureau of meteorology said, as summer bushfires again burn drought lands and destroy homes.

The average temperature in Australia over the past 10 years was 0.48 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, said the Bureau of Meteorology in its annual climate report.

And 2010 is forecast to be even hotter, with temperatures likely to be between 0.5 and 1 degrees above average.

"We're getting these increasingly warm temperatures, not just for Australia but globally. Climate change, global warming is clearly continuing," said bureau climatologist David Jones.

"We're in the latter stages of an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean and what that means for Australian and global temperatures is that 2010 is likely to be another very warm year -- perhaps even the warmest on record."

Australia's Environment Minister Peter Garrett used the report to attack opposition politicians for blocking the government's key climate policy, a carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) aimed at reducing greenhouses gases causing global warming.

"Australia is one of the hottest and driest inhabited places on earth and our environment and economy will be one of the hardest and fastest hit by climate change," said Mr Garrett.


"Today's statement finds that the patterns of the past year and the decade are consistent with global warming. It [passing the ETS] is in the national interest and it is in the interest of the world," he added.

The Australian government has promised to reintroduce its ETS legislation to parliament next month, a move which may trigger an early election in 2010 if the legislation is again defeated.