We need to talk about adaptation

Climate change adaptation

Suburban bushfires in spring, 45 degrees and freak storms in summer. Not to mention rising humidity up north, perpetual flooding over east and slowly rising sea levels everywhere.

As much as we rightly talk about the importance of decarbonisation, and the economic opportunities doing so presents, we need to talk far more about adapting to the worsening climate conditions we are facing.

Nobody really wants to talk about adaptation to climate change. It means accountability for those who cause it, is disheartening for those who fight it and causes dissonance for everyone who expects everything to be alright in the end.

The Insurance Council of Australia, which represents an industry on the front line of climate change impacts, believes it will become prohibitively expensive or impossible to insure assets in a growing number of high-risk areas over time. Among other things, the Council is lobbying to stop homes being built in high-risk locations, improve building codes to ensure homes can withstand the storms of the future, and retrofit existing homes for the same. Investment in protective infrastructure by government is encouraged. Home buybacks are also flagged, where risks can’t be managed.

The WA Government released a climate change adaptation strategy in July last year. It is hard to think of a more important initiative for government to deliver and build upon. Because the effects of global warming are with us now and are only going to get worse.

This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.


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