THE EXTREME RAINFALL and flooding once again inundating parts of Queensland is yet another wake up call about the escalating risks of climate change, which is driving more frequent disasters, experts say.
Heavy rainfall, which has broken May records in some areas, is sweeping the state, marking Queensland’s second major flood emergency this year.
Climate Council Head of Research, Dr Simon Bradshaw said:
“With climate change increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather disasters, there is greater chance of these devastating events happening in rapid succession, with little time for communities to recover.
“As India and Pakistan swelter through an extraordinarily severe heatwave and California braces for another horror fire season, Australia continues its year of record rainfall and floods. All our weather is happening in the context of climate change, in an atmosphere made warmer, wetter and more energetic through the burning of coal, oil and gas.
“Queensland is the nation’s most vulnerable state when it comes to extreme weather. Five of Australia’s top ten most-at-risk federal electorates are in Queensland. Between 2010 and 2019, Queenslanders suffered more than double the extreme weather disaster losses of any other state or territory.
“Any government that is serious about protecting Australian communities from worsening disasters must ensure that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions plummet this decade.”
Former Commissioner Queensland Fire & Emergency Services and member of Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA), Lee Johnson, said:
“Emergency services are being hammered by the increasing frequency and severity of these events. Local communities in Queensland are being expected to step up, again and again, even when they’ve just experienced the horrendous floods we saw just a few months ago.
“After the horrific Black Summer, and now the two catastrophic flooding events so far this year, the lack of Government initiative towards disaster preparedness and reducing emissions has reached an absolutely unacceptable point.
“It is only through the swift and deep reduction of emissions, along with putting communities first, that we can avoid the worst effects of climate change. We’ve sadly seen more loss of life, homes destroyed and businesses wrecked, and yet the Morrison Government has no actual plan to drastically reduce emissions and conduct a national risk assessment of what climate change means for Australians.
“We need to see our leaders stepping up to protect communities and properly resource our emergency services. Failing to rapidly and deeply reduce our emissions will severely increase risks to Australian lives and livelihoods, communities and ecosystems. We must do our fair share to tackle the climate emergency.”
The Climate Council recommends Australia triple its efforts and aim to reduce its national emissions by 75 percent by 2030, and reach net zero by 2035.