THE CLIMATE COUNCIL has welcomed the Federal Government announcement of $2 billion for bushfire recovery, but warns effective recovery must build in resilience to a rapidly changing climate.
“The unprecedented and horrific bushfires show us clearly that Australia is unprepared for worsening extreme weather, ” Climate Council CEO, Amanda McKenzie said.
“As we come to terms with the impact of these fires we must also understand that the Australian climate has changed forever. The southeast is hotter and fire conditions are more dangerous than they were in the past,” she said.
“The process of rebuilding must carefully assess how the climate has changed and is likely to continue to become more extreme in the future. This means there will be hard decisions to make in terms of how we rebuild.
“The good news is we can rebuild in a way that both tackles climate change and builds greater resilience for communities. For instance, decentralised renewable energy can provide power to communities that may otherwise have been cut off, while also reducing reliance on fossil fuels,” Ms McKenzie said.
Money for recovery without a coherent climate policy will be wasted.
“The government’s focus on continuing Australia’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels means that extreme weather will worsen dramatically over the next decades. We cannot afford it,” Ms McKenzie said.
“The government must use these fires as an opportunity to fundamentally change their approach. For over six years the Federal Government has had no credible climate policy. Today the economic, personal and environmental costs of failing to tackle climate change are staring us all in the face,” she said.
“Despite the warnings, the Federal Government has been flatfooted in its response to this disaster, partly because they failed to accept the fact that the climate has changed. This cannot happen again,” Ms McKenzie said.