COSBOA today has called on all levels of government to start responding to climate change – and get ready for the inevitable future national disasters – now. In the end there has been enough talk, enough cowardice and enough climate skullduggery.
COSBOA calls on Australia’s sensible politicians to unite and commit to necessary climate adaptation actions – regardless of their individual political affiliations. They must promote a shared goal of minimising future economic, social and environmental harm from climate-related natural disasters. As recently stated by the very focused and credentialled Minister Karen Andrews (Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology), action should be founded on evidence-based policy and take full advantage of the scientific prowess of our community, while harnessing the immense innovation capability of Australian business and industry.
Peter Strong CEO of COSBOA stated “the recent fires and floods were predicted, yet little was done to prepare communities. The outcome has been losses that should not have occurred; we have seen families and businesses impacted when they should have been given information to help better prepare. We have seen communities destroyed. Government response, at all levels, has been piecemeal, slow and indeed lacking. As a result, we have called for plans for adaptation due to climate change to be written and implemented; then we discover these plans already exist but were shelved. We believe the belligerence of climate change skeptics and deniers, combined with the timidness of everyone else, has caused governments to ignore these essential plans. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people have suffered unnecessarily, and the economy is taking a hit.
Politicians can agree on adaptation and preparation yet still disagree on mitigation. These are two different actions. Get the first issue right as it is a pressing need.”
Adaptation plans developed, lauded, ignored
Australia has reached agreement at the COAG level on what to do since 2007 with all governments signing on to the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework. Eight years later, in 2015, the Federal Government developed a National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy (NCRAS). Elements of the NCRAS were then picked up in the 2018 National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework – but this comprehensive strategy was not funded and not actioned.
After more than 13 years of political debate, policy investigation and production of glossy strategies, all three levels of government have failed to come together to implement a national disaster preparedness framework and climate adaptation plan. Plans essential to protect Australia from serious climate change harm. Harm to people and the economy.
Meanwhile over the past 8 months, large parts of Australia have been hit by the predicted catastrophic fires and floods, at a scale not seen before. We need action now.
Mr Strong added “it is incredibly important to note the difference between mitigation and adaptation. The mitigation debate is emotional and ideological; the adaptation debate is pragmatic and about real-time events and issues. The affected people – business people, employees, pensioners and the needy – are at their wits ends. There is no doubt the debate on mitigation has caused adaptation to be ignored.
We must act now on adaptation and implement meaningful resilience actions to limit the economic loss, emotional suffering and environmental destruction from climate change events in the future.”
(See COSBOA’s paper on adaptation).