Australia’s Climate Council said that Climate change is driving a new era of ‘unnatural disasters’ – and warned for another hard summer ahead.
A report published on Monday said that 2022 will be remembered as the year of the Great Deluge, when record-breaking rain and floods lashed large parts of Eastern Australia, causing untold devastation for Australians and the economy.
“Climate change, driven by the burning of coal, oil, and gas, was a major factor in the Great Deluge” the report mentioned.
This report is a stark warning that this is not over yet, and a call for all levels of government to speed up their emission reductions and disaster preparation efforts.
The report also warned that the Great Deluge of 2022 has increased the risk of mosquito-borne diseases and there could be a major outbreak of the Japanese encephalitis virus here, with as many as 750,000 Australians at risk of exposure to the deadly virus.
This year has seen large parts of Eastern Australia experienced record-breaking rainfall and floods.
From Queensland down to Tasmania, extreme weather events have taken people’s lives, led to the evacuation of communities, damaged homes, belongings, and businesses, and destroyed crops and livestock.
According to the report, the costs of climate change continued to rise in 2022, with Queensland bearing an estimated $7.7 billion cost in social, financial, and economic impacts because of record-breaking rainfall and floods in February and March.
The City of Brisbane suffered $1.38 billion in insured losses, while New South Wales and Victoria could cause up to $5 billion worth of damage to the East Coast grain harvest, with 10 million tonnes of produce already directly or indirectly damaged.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a high chance (73 percent) of more tropical cyclones than the typical 11 for the Australian region.
“There is nothing natural about these disasters, they are being unleashed on Australians by decades of reliance on fossil fuels,” Lesley Hughes, a leading climate scientist and author of the report said.
“These same companies are enjoying billions in public subsidies. It’s high time we end fossil fuel subsidies and use the savings to create a climate disaster fund so we can help communities deal with the fallout of compounding and worsening disasters,” said Lesley in a statement.
The report advocates that Australia should end fossil fuel subsidies and use savings to set up a climate disaster fund that meets the increasing costs of climate-fuelled disasters to support vulnerable communities.