Following the latest updates on climate change science from around the world, the Greens have today secured a Senate Environment Committee inquiry into frequency, costs and preparedness for extreme weather events in Australia.
"From the Frankenstorm to firestorms, from droughts to floods, we're seeing more and more extreme weather events around the world, the greater intensity of which scientists are attributing to global warming." Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"It's very timely that the Senate will now have the opportunity to look at extreme weather events, the costs they impose on all of us, the impact on insurance availability and premiums and, generally how prepared or unprepared our country is for the climate changes that are already happening and those that are coming in the years and decades ahead.
"Those who hide their heads in the sand and pretend nothing is happening will not be able to say they weren't warned after this inquiry."
The terms of reference for the inquiry are:
That the following matters be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 20 March 2013:
(a) recent trends on the frequency of extreme weather events, including but not limited to drought, bushfires, heatwaves, floods and storm surges;
(b) based on global warming scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation of 1 to 5 degrees by 2070:
(i) projections on the frequency of extreme weather events, including but not limited to drought, bushfires, heatwaves, floods and storm surges,
(ii) the costs of extreme weather events and impacts on natural ecosystems, social and economic infrastructure and human health, and
(iii) the availability and affordability of private insurance, impacts on availability and affordability under different global warming scenarios, and regional social and economic impacts;
(c) an assessment of the preparedness of key sectors for extreme weather events, including major infrastructure (electricity, water, transport, telecommunications), health, construction and property, and agriculture and forestry;
(d) an assessment of the preparedness and the adequacy of resources in the emergency services sector to prevent and respond to extreme weather events;
(e) the current roles and effectiveness of the division of responsibilities between different levels of government (federal, state and local) to manage extreme weather events;
(f) progress in developing effective national coordination of climate change response and risk management, including legislative and regulatory reform, standards and codes, taxation arrangements and economic instruments;
(g) any gaps in Australia's Climate Change Adaptation Framework and the steps required for effective national coordination of climate change response and risk management; and
(h) any related matter.