Australia’s bushfires to cost billions as climate risks rise

(Climate Change News, 7 Jan 2020) Australian government announces national bushfire recovery fund, as cost of natural disasters expected to rise in coming years.

Bushfires ravaging Australia are expected to cost billions of dollars in recovery efforts and the nation’s bills for tackling natural disasters risk soaring in coming decades with worsening climate change.

Record-breaking temperatures and severe droughts have fuelled the fires which have burnt millions of hectares across the country. At least 24 people and hundreds of thousands of animals have been killed.

Data from the Australian government Bureau of Meteorology shows December’s mean temperature was 3.21C warmer than the average for the month. Ed Hawkins, a professor of climate science at the University of Reading, said the country’s mean December temperature had warmed about 1.4 times faster than the global annual average temperature over the past century.

But pro-coal Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied the link between climate change and the unprecedented intensity of bushfires across the country, describing it as “misconstrued”.

On Monday, Morrison announced the creation of a National Bushfire Recovery Agency, initially funded to the tune of $2billion AUS ($1.4bn) over a two-year period to help families, farmers and businesses recover from the fire-front.

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Climate Change News, 7 Jan 2020: Australia’s bushfires to cost billions as climate risks rise