Australia: disasters will be more “serious and frequent”, according to the fire commission

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Australians must be prepared to face “increasingly severe and frequent” disasters due to climate change, a commission of inquiry into the wildfires that have ravaged the huge island continent warned on Friday. in 2019 and 2020.

Fires return to Australia every year at the end of the southern winter, but last year they were exceptionally serious, killing 33 people and destroying an area equal to that of the United Kingdom or Ghana.

“What was unprecedented now is our future,” warned the royal commission charged with better preparing Australia for natural disasters.

According to her, not only will disasters “unfortunately be more and more serious and frequent”, but “we can expect more simultaneous and consecutive dangerous phenomena”.

“In the past 12 months, there has been drought, heat waves and forest fires, followed by severe storms, flooding and a pandemic,” the commission recalled.

The fires, which lasted for nine months and ended in March, have displaced nearly three billion animals and killed some of them, costing the Australian economy around $ 7 billion.

The annual cost of disasters could reach around $ 27 billion by 2050, without even taking into account the worsening global warming “inevitable over the next two decades”.

“As a result, the sea level is expected to continue to rise. Cyclones are expected to decrease in number, but increase in intensity. Floods and forest fires are expected to become frequent and intense ”.

Among its 80 recommendations, the report calls for better data on how global warming will translate into specific areas.

However, he did not call on the Conservative government, accused of delaying putting in place measures to combat this phenomenon, to tackle the root causes, disappointing some experts.

“We have a bathtub full of problems,” said environmentalist Michael Clarke of La Trobe University.

“Of course, we can try to control the level, cleaning it when it overflows, but we could also consider turning off the tap.”

On several occasions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has played down the link between climate change and fires, remaining a strong advocate of Australia’s very powerful and lucrative mining industry.

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