INTENSIFYING CLIMATE CHANGE is driving Australia’s escalating bushfire threat, creating longer and more dangerous fire seasons than ever before, according to the Climate Council.
“New South Wales and Victorian towns have been hit hard with devastating bushfires that have affected the lives of hundreds of people, with homes and properties lost and damaged in the process,” said Climate Council Acting CEO and Head of Research Dr Martin Rice.
“Intensifying climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events including rising temperatures, severe heatwaves, supercharged storms, flooding, intense rainfall and even bushfires,” he said.
“High bushfire danger weather has been increasing in Southeast Australia over the past forty years due to worsening climate change, which unfortunately has increased the odds that dangerous fires, such as the events we have seen at Tathra and western VIC, will occur.”
Dr Rice warned that Australia will continue to experience an increasing number of dangerous fire weather days, placing fire services and medical professionals under pressure, and communities at risk, as climate change intensifies.
“Communities, emergency services and the health sector must prepare and resource for worsening fire danger conditions now and into the future,” he said.
“The cost of bushfires in New South Wales alone is likely to more than double by mid-century to 100 million dollars per year.”
“Australia experienced its hottest winter on record last year, which was made 60 times more likely due to climate change. As Australia continues to experience such unprecedented temperatures, parts of the country are seeing dangerous bushfire conditions emerge.”
Dr Rice said the Federal Government must deeply and rapidly cut Australia’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels, in a bid to protect Australians from worsening extreme weather events, which are creating more severe bushfire seasons.
“Australia’s carbon pollution levels have risen every quarter since March 2015,” he said.
“The Federal Government must rollout strong and credible climate and energy policy that addresses climate change and the bushfire threat - unfortunately the National Energy Guarantee falls short of this.”
“Tackling climate change, through transitioning to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology is critical to reducing the risk of extreme weather events, including severe bushfires we’ve seen in Victoria and New South Wales this month."
The Climate Council has created a climate and energy policy roadmap ‘Clean & Reliable Power: Roadmap to a Renewable Future’, outlining 12 key principles essential to tackle climate change in Australia.
For more information please contact Senior Communications Advisor Alexia Boland on 0438 972 260.