(Australian Associated Press)
Insurance companies paid out more than $1.2 billion in claims arising from extreme weather events last year, a report into the effects of climate change has found.
The Climate Council has observed an increase in the severity and frequency of extreme weather, given the past four years have been the four hottest on record for global surface temperatures.
Its findings come as hundreds of people remain holed up in evacuation centres across Townsville waiting for floodwaters to recede and after bushfires ravaged almost 200,000 hectares of land in Tasmania.
Head of research at the Climate Council, Martin Rice, says there’s a tiny window left to tackle climate change, urging the government to take action.
“Greenhouse gas pollution is warming the climate system, increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere. This leads to heavier rainfall,” he said.
“The federal government’s current climate policy is an abject failure, with greenhouse gas pollution increasing over the past four years.
“Tackling climate change effectively requires a credible national policy to drive down pollution across all sectors.”
Despite the government’s insistence that it has the right mix of climate policies, Liberal Party president Nick Greiner concedes that’s not the case.
“I accept the fact that having no sustainability policy would not be an appropriate way to go to an election,” he told ABC News on Tuesday.
“We do need a robust climate change policy, of course we do, and I believe there will be one, yes, before the election.”
Climate change is poised to be a key policy battleground ahead of the expected May election, with a number of independent candidates naming it as a central focus to their campaigns to oust sitting Liberal MPs.