Sunday, October 28, 2012

Australian business and government must protect infrastructure

Katina Curtis in the Herald Sun (Australia): As a land of droughts and flooding rains, Australia should be well prepared for the extreme weather that climate change will bring - but it isn't.The Climate Institute says government and business have much to do to protect Australia's infrastructure from damage in natural disasters.

Science shows that as sea levels and global temperature rise, the frequency of extreme floods, droughts and bushfires will rise exponentially. "Australia, with its history of extreme weather events, should be better prepared, but our performance is patchy at best," The Climate Institute chief executive John Connor told AAP. "It's a high-stakes gamble with predictions that we're going to see more and more extreme weather events in the future."

The institute's report, Coming ready or not: Can Australia's infrastructure handle climate change?, says the electricity, financial services and insurance, and road and rail sectors are underprepared. It says early preparation has begun to protect property against the impacts of more frequent extreme weather events, while preparations are relatively advanced in the water industry.

"Government and business should urgently address the gaps in climate change adaptation in order to avoid unnecessary loss of life, incomes and damage to major infrastructure assets," says the report, released on Monday. "Progress is being made, but it is piecemeal, locked in past paradigms and unco-ordinated." ...

The wet season at night in Darwin, shot by TourismNT, public domain

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