Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison has launched a royal commission into this summer’s devastasting bushfires.
The fires have estimated to involve insured losses of at least A$1.91 billion (US$1.26 billion).
The inquiry will look into ways to prepare Australia for future natural disasters and will take into account the impact of climate change on extreme weather events.
The terms of reference released ask the royal commission to examine proposals to improve existing resilience and mitigation measures. It will also consider the legal framework for the Commonwealth’s involvement in responding to natural disasters.
Retired air chief marshal Mark Binskin, former federal court judge Annabelle Bennett and climate risk specialist Andrew Macintosh will head the inquiry. They are to submit the final report by August 31 this year.
Meanwhile, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has published a letter to all APRA-regulated institutions outlining plans to develop a prudential practice guide focused on climate-related financial risks, as well as a climate change vulnerability assessment.
The letter also outlines APRA’s intention to update superannuation Prudential Practice Guide SPG 530 Investment Governance, which includes paragraphs related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments.
There have been recent consistent calls from several large environmental groups for Australia’s government and companies to take the threat of climate change more seriously.

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