In response to the release of the final report of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Climate Change Program Manager, Gavan McFadzean, said:

“Every federal and state inquiry has acknowledged last summer’s devastating bushfires were driven by climate change.

“The catastrophic fires killed 33 people, destroyed more than 3000 houses, killed or displaced nearly three billion animals and burnt almost 19 million hectares of land.

“The Royal Commission’s final report is clear that global warming is influencing and intensifying fire seasons, heatwaves, rainfall and flood risk in Australia.

“In the face of climate disasters and extreme weather events, our governments are falling short.

“Australia needs genuine action on climate change without delay.

“Digging up and burning coal, oil and gas is the primary driver of climate change and it’s what is making weather events more extreme and bushfires more dangerous.

“A horror future is not inevitable. As the Royal Commission points out, warming beyond the next 20 to 30 years is largely dependent on the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. (p 61)

“We have a small window of opportunity to reduce the impact climate change has on future bushfire seasons and the threat it presents to life, property and nature.

“Remember, last summer’s horror bushfire season happened off the back of the 1 degree of warming that has already occurred – we are on a path to global heating of 3 degrees or more.

“ACF urges the Morrison government to commit to a net zero target by 2050 and stop using public money to prop up fossil fuels like gas.

“We must build resilience in our communities, protect nature and invest in our future.”

The Royal Commission notes that Australia does not have an agreed set of climate change scenarios for the nation or standardised guidance on how to interpret and use these scenarios consistently. (p 125)

As a La Niña summer bears down on Australia, insurer Suncorp this week warned we are no better placed to withstand extreme weather this year than we were last year.

ACF’s blueprint for COVID recovery, Recover, Rebuild, Renew, sets out how the federal government can boost jobs and make Australia more resilient to future disasters, helping communities and nature prepare for drier conditions and recover from extreme events.

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