CANBERRA, AAP – The economic alarm has again been sounded over climate inaction, with an environmental group warning the cost of extreme weather has more than doubled over the last 50 years.
The cost reached $35 billion for the decade after 2010, according to a new Climate Council report.
By 2038, the group says the cost of extreme weather events and sea level rise could cost the Australian economy $100 billion every year.
Climate Council spokesman Will Steffen says the world is seeing consequences from not acting on climate change sooner.
“And it is going to get worse,” Professor Steffen said.
“No developed country has more to lose from climate change-fuelled extreme weather, or more to gain as the world transforms to a zero-carbon economy, than Australia does.”
The findings have prompted the group to call on the federal government to adopt a goal of net zero emissions by 2040 at the latest.
It’s a step up from pressure for net zero by 2050. The Morrison government hasn’t put a time frame on achieving net zero emissions, instead saying it hopes to achieve the goal “as soon as possible”.
The report points to the rise of extreme heat both in Australia and overseas, predicting that deaths from such events by 2100 will outstrip all COVID-19 deaths in 2020.
It also warns that Australians are five times more likely to be displaced by a climate-related disaster than people in Europe, while the risk for Pacific islands is 100 times higher.
The report comes as federal politicians prepare for parliament to resume next week for the first sitting of the year.
Both parties are battling internal issues on climate and energy policy, with the Nationals again urging the Liberal Party, its senior partner in government, to help fund new coal-fired power stations.
Labor is still yet to find a united voice on the future of more renewable energy sources and the transition away from fossil fuels.