A new climate adaptation strategy released by the Morrison government says the cost of natural disasters are expected to almost double by 2060 and backed the importance of markets to help Australians cope as the planet heats up.
The National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy 2021-25, released on Friday, identifies a range of perils from intensifying cyclones to rising sea levels and heatwaves.
Citing evidence by Deloitte Access Economics, it says the cost of natural disasters in Australia will increase from about $38b to $73b by 2060 even with ambitious global action to reduce emissions.
The report’s release comes just days after the Morrison government revealed its plan for Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050. As with that plan, the adaptation strategy was touted as tailor-made for Australia.
“The strategy guides how we will adapt to our uniquely Australian climate, in an Australian way and will integrate the latest climate information, environmental science and adaptation strategies into everyday decision-making,” the environment minister, Sussan Ley, said.
“Successful adaptation will help ensure that buildings, infrastructure, ecosystems, our communities and our economy are resilient to the impacts of climate change.”
However, as with the emissions plan, there is no new funding attached to the strategy. There is also little mention, compared with the 2015 strategy, of the need to cut emissions to reduce the climate risks in the first place.
The latest version says the government’s role should include helping markets to develop ways to build resilience into the values of assets under threat from global heating.
“Investors in long-lived assets are seeking agreed approaches that integrate the financial, economic and social impacts of climatic shocks and operational stressors over time,” the report said, without detailing what tools might work.
Polly Hemming, an adviser at the Australia Institute, said the policy “simply re-announces existing initiatives” and was light on detail. “While introducing three overarching objectives, there are no clear targets or timelines,” she said.
Those objectives are to drive investment and action through collaboration, improve climate information and services; and assess progress and improve over time.
The government plans to present the strategy at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.