Almost the same amount of rain in three days than entire year in London: New Climate Council Report Shows Disaster Off The Charts

10.03.22 By
This content is more than 2 years old

THE RELENTLESS DELUGE that has flooded towns and cities in Queensland and New South Wales is one of the most extreme disasters in Australian history, and the devastation is wide ranging.

New Climate Council report ‘A Supercharged Climate: Rain bombs, flash flooding and destruction’ comes as the Prime Minister declares a national emergency, and outlines the sheer intensity and magnitude of the devastating rainfall and storms that caused widespread flooding and destruction along Australia’s east coast.

Key Findings: 

Professor Will Steffen, Climate Councillor, climate change expert and ANU Emeritus Professor said: 

“Climate change is playing out in real time here in Australia. We are dealing with a climate system on steroids.”

“For many communities dealing with flood emergencies, this is the latest in a long line of climate-fuelled extreme weather events they have faced recently. Unless we act now and join the rest of the world to reduce emissions this decade, such disasters will only get worse.” 

While Queensland and New South Wales have been hit with historic rainfall and floods, Tasmania endured its driest summer in 40 years and Perth has smashed its previous record number of summer days at or over 40°C.

“To date, the Morrison Government’s response to the climate crisis has been both dangerous and weak. What we need to keep front of mind is that every fraction of a degree of warming saved will be counted in lives saved. Every tonne of CO2 emissions avoided matters.”

Nicki Hutley, Climate Councillor, leading economist and former Partner at Deloitte Access Economics said: 

“Just like the Black Summer bushfires, these floods are going to leave lasting scars on those impacted, and will have economy-wide impacts affecting all of us for many years to come. 

“Floods are already the costliest extreme weather event in Australia and this disaster has so far racked up insurance losses of almost $1.5 billion. The full economic costs and impacts are immense, and wide-ranging including loss of life, physical injury and mental health issues, business disruption and loss of productivity, agricultural damage impacting food supply and biodiversity losses.

“Properties in high-risk areas may become uninsurable due to the escalating impacts of climate change, we know this more profoundly affects people on low incomes. With governments now talking of extending the cyclone insurance pool to cover flood and fire for these households, the costs to all Australians is rapidly growing.

“Queensland often bears the brunt of such disasters. Between 2010 and 2019, Queenslanders paid more than double the extreme weather disaster losses of any other state or territory, costing the state $18 million. This equates to more than half the national total of $35 billion. 

The Climate Council recommends Australia triple its efforts and take strong, bold measures to reduce its national emissions by 75 percent by 2030, and reach net zero by 2035. 

Failing to rapidly and deeply reduce global emissions will severely increase risks to Australian lives and livelihoods, communities and ecosystems. 

Correction: An error was corrected in this report on Thursday March 10. It now correctly reads: A “rain bomb” hit Brisbane and southeastern Queensland with around 60 percent of the region’s average annual rainfall occurring within three days. Brisbane received almost the same amount of rain in three days than London in the UK typically does over an entire year.

For interviews please contact Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875 or Jane Gardner on 0438 130 905. 

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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