Rationale for renewables: Disasters & warming climate cost Victoria $20b

r488645_6299881A new Friends of the Earth research report shows disasters and a warming climate have cost Victoria almost $20 billion between 2003-13.

The report provides fresh rationale for the Victorian government to encourage the rollout of renewable energy. Victoria is now the most polluting state in Australia. Our state will continue to contribute to climate change and suffer the impacts of a warming climate unless there’s  a swift transition to clean renewable energy sources.

Victorian politicians have the power to protect Victorians from climate change disasters. They can take the lead with strong climate change and renewable energy policies.

Natural Disasters and a Warming Climate; Understanding the Cumulative Financial Impacts on Victoria compiles loss statistics from weather related Victorian disaster events – fires, floods, storms and heatwaves. In concludes disasters exacerbated by climate change have cost Victoria $19.937 billion dollars over the last decade. The disasters hit the public and private sector hard:

  • Public = $6,762.87 million
  • Private = $13,174.2 million
  • TOTAL = $19,937.07 million

Friends of the Earth coordinator Cam Walker explains:

Climate change science clearly tells us that, without concerted global action to reduce emissions, Victoria will face hotter summers and extended heatwaves, more erratic rainfall patterns, and longer bushfire seasons,” says Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator .

We note the Climate Council statement that all extreme weather events are now being influenced by climate change because they are occurring in a climate system that is hotter and moister than it was 50 years ago.It is clear that there are already considerable economic impacts of climate change that are being felt across the state. These costs are directly competing with other demands, such as education and health budgets.

What this report seeks to highlight is the fact that the government is ‘flying blind’ when it comes to tracking the economic and social costs of natural disasters on our state. There is no single tally of the costs of extreme weather events, and so it is up to the media to report each event as they occur. A forward thinking state government would compile the full costs, making them public on an annual basis, and task the Premier’s office with co-ordinating the state-wide response to tackling climate change and advancing the state’s climate adaptation plans.

Insurance data only account for insured losses, and these represent a fraction of the total cost of a disaster. They do not include many indirect costs, nor intangibles such as ecosystem services like drinking water. They do not include the huge personal costs of losing loved ones, homes, or businesses. They do not include the personal costs to police, firefighters, SES and other emergency workers who face danger and human loss, and must contend with the emotional impacts of their work.

As Victoria suffered under the recent heat wave, limitations in the ‘surge capacity’ of our medical system were apparent. Health professionals have called on the government to urgently review how the state manages heatwave response. While bushfires have caused the greatest financial impact on Victoria over the past decade, heatwaves have been the largely unacknowledged killer in our state. According to a Monash University study, more than 200 people died as a result of the 2009 heat wave.

Our state government has walked away from meaningful action to reduce greenhouse pollution, including dismantling the emission reductions target in the Victorian Climate Change Act. It has retreated to a position where it has opted for an adaptation response rather than a serious mitigation strategy, and it’s Adaptation Plan has been criticised as being insufficient to task.

Unless our government stops hiding from climate science, and joins the global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it will be condemning Victorians to an ever greater cost burden from extreme weather events.

TAKE ACTION

  • Volunteer with Yes 2 Renewables and help us build a pro-renewables movement. Only when Victorians are active will the politicians get serious about renewable energy. Email leigh.ewbank [at] foe.org.au for more information.
  • Sign our petition calling on Premier Napthine and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews to scrap Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws and support renewable energy.
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10 thoughts on “Rationale for renewables: Disasters & warming climate cost Victoria $20b

  1. What a crock the bush has been burning for thousands of years.How has a few kids with a box of matches got to do with climate change.This is almost as stupid as the ship of fools that got stuck in their own ice melt.A JOKE!!!!!

    1. Grow up Chris. Nobody is denying the bush has been burnt for thousands of years but it certainly hasn’t been burning for thousands of years. And who is talking about kids with matches? Only you. Clearly the article above is beyond your comprehension.

      Maybe if you had had the benefit of some basic education and a little science knowledge, you would understand why increased temperatures have such a dramatic effect on the landscape, plant, animal and human communities.

      Anyway it’s evident you don’t care nor can you be bothered spending a few seconds thinking about the matter. Each time your insurance premiums rise, remember to point the finger directly at yourself.

  2. Well, yes the bush has been burning for thousands of years, its just that the frequency and intensity of these events seem to be increasing in recent times, along with the storms, floods and droughts, all of which costs US (the taxpayers lots of money). We are told that the cost of moving to non polluting energy sources is prohibitive, but as we watch the costs of recovering from these ‘adverse’ weather events increasing at an alarming rare around the world, it may well be that moving to renewables might be the cheaper option after all.

    1. Hey Chris, you’re the one writing childish commentary. If you cannot address the subject in an adult manner, don’t be surprised when you are criticised for distorting the facts. Nobody is demanding you post here so stop whingeing if you don’t like adverse comments to your denialism.

      Maybe if you got rid of the chip on your shoulder and addressed the contents of the article, it would be possible to have a rational, adult discussion with you? Over to you.

      1. Were you on the ship of fools Blair?if so did you notice the ice was thicker and more vast than it has been for the last 30 years it must be GLOBAL WARMING!!!!!!.You are stuck in your own lunch box.Im not whinging Blair you just cant take a different opinion than yours its that simple so suck it up and accept that.

      2. Chris, I get it now. You are a fact free zone and incapable of discerning the difference between credible evidence and bovine excreta.
        I’m fussy, I stick with science. You obviously enjoy conspiracy theorist/denialist sources for your “evidence”.
        Thanks for the chuckles. The following link shows the realities aren’t quite as simplistic as you make out but no doubt you will ignore the details.’s late-night
        http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/environment/climate-change/ice-sheets-and-sea-level-rise

      3. The ice is getting thicker? OMG. Now you’re really getting desperate. And you’re ignoring the content of the article. Your cherry picking is pathetic.

  3. Can you read the article its on GLOBAL WARMING.?? So you were on the ship of fools. But you do need to get out more Blair go for a walk don’t drive a fossil fuelled car its bad for us all!!!!!!!!Do you still believe Al Gore when he said in 1987 the artic wont have any ice left in 20 years.If you don’t who is in denialism its not me I knew it was rubbish from the start. And I do love your answers they show the person.

    1. Chris, try and concentrate. The OP is about disasters and the warming climate and the associated costs. Nothing about thickening ice or Al Gore. Seems like you have been going to the George Papadopoulos School of denial and silliness. There are plenty of forums for the wilfully ignorant and deluded denialists like yourself, go spend your time there, you’ll be amongst your fellow foolish where you can wax lyrical about your superiority in all things scientific because you know better than the myriad researchers who get their hands dirty collecting the data, the evidence you choose to ignore.

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