The Climate Council’s latest report revealed Queensland suffered the most economic damage from the climate emergency after record-breaking floods wreaked havoc in the state earlier this year.
Queensland’s total losses from extreme weather since the 1970s were three times higher than Victoria’s and 50 per cent higher than New South Wales, the report detailed.
The report found Queensland copped $7.7 billion in social, financial and economic impacts due to the floods.
Brisbane suffered around $1.38 billion in insured losses during the floods - more than any other local government area in the country.
The floods in Queensland and northern NSW cost $5.56 billion in insured losses from 236,000 claims and the Climate Council claims this is the costliest extreme weather event in Australian history.
Agricultural damage to southeast Queensland in the February floods was around $254 million.
Meanwhile, the spring flooding in NSW and Victoria could see up to $5 billion in damage to the grain harvest with 10 million tonnes of product already damaged.
The Climate Council warned the flooding that has caused millions of dollars in damage to growing regions could lead to food shortages and ”higher supermarket prices for grocery staples like milk, fruit and vegetables”.
2022 named year of the floods, more extreme weather on the way
The report also named 2022 as the year of the “Great Deluge” due to the record-breaking floods.
”Australians will remember 2022 as the year of the ‘great deluge’, when record-breaking rain and floods, supercharged by climate change, left a trail of devastation from Queensland down to Tasmania,” climate councillor Professor Lesley Hughes said.
But Hughes warned more extreme weather is on the way for Australia including flooding, tropical cyclones and a major Japanese Encephalitis outbreak.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a 73 per cent chance of more than the typical 11 tropical cyclones this summer.
Emergency services struggling to keep up with climate change
Former Commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue Greg Mullins said in the face of the escalating climate emergency and the increase of severe weather events in Australia, emergency services can’t keep up.
“Australia’s current disaster planning and management systems are struggling to keep up with escalating disaster threats fuelled by climate change,” he said.
“In recent years, we have seen emergency responders overwhelmed by the scale, speed, and severity of extreme weather events, like the 2022 floods and Black Summer bushfires.
“Long-term recovery operations are also more challenging because disasters are striking more frequently.”
Mullins said emergency service responses need to be made “fit-for-purpose” as climate disasters worsen.
”Governments must invest in emergency services, better disaster management coordination, more accurate risk models, and community resilience programmes,” he said.
Incredible aerial images show extent of Condobolin flooding