The cost of extreme weather in Australia has more than doubled since the 1970s, and totalled A$35bn ($26.6bn) over the past decade, according to a new Climate Council report, titled “Hitting Home: The Compounding Costs of Climate Inaction”.
“There is no doubt that we have entered an era of consequences arising from decades of climate inaction and delay,” said lead author and Climate Council spokesman, Professor Will Steffen.
“And it is going to get worse. By 2038, extreme weather events driven by climate change, as well as the impacts of sea-level rise, could cost the Australian economy A$100 bn every year,” said Professor Steffen.
For Australia, the devastating Black Summer fires, a crippling drought, and yet another mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef highlight the country’s acute vulnerability to climate impacts.
“Australians are five times more likely to be displaced by a climate change-fuelled disaster than someone living in Europe. In the Pacific, that risk is 100 times higher,” said Professor Steffen.
The report says that bold, concerted action is needed across all levels of government, business, industry and community to reduce Australia’s emissions to net zero as soon as possible and prepare for worsening extreme weather events.
The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation.