‘Wilful ignorance’: Flood-hit Australia urged to rethink climate adaptation

After Australia floods, hard lessons sink in

People disembark a rescue boat after they were carried across the flooded Hawkesbury River in Windsor, north west of Sydney, Australia, Thursday, March 25, 2021. While rain has eased across New South Wales and southern Queensland states, flooding has persisted and most rivers had peaked but 20,000 people were still evacuated from their homes. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

With more than 10 million people affected by flooding along Australia’s east coast, people are asking themselves: Is climate change the main reason for the worst floods in more than 50 years?

“Flood maps should be taken seriously rather than in a cursory way.”

Dorina Pojani – University of Queensland

The massive floods are a stark contrast from a year ago when the east coast experienced its worst bushfire season, due mainly to a prolonged drought.

Around 20,000 people remained stranded by the flooding on Thursday, with water levels yet to drop in some parts of the east coast despite an end to the rain. “The weather systems that brought heavy rain to parts of eastern Australia have well and truly moved off into the Tasman Sea,” the Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.

Residents are now beginning a massive cleanup effort, as the receding waters reveal damaged homes, piles of debris and mud-caked roads. While the rains may have stopped, the questions haven’t as residents consider the factors behind the deluge…

‘Wilful ignorance’: Flood-hit Australia urged to rethink climate adaptation

Australia, now battling its worst floods in more than half a century, has failed to adapt fast enough to the growing threats it faces from the impacts of climate change, with its people now suffering the effects of “wilful ignorance”, analysts warned.

Despite knowing about climate change since the 1980s, Australia continues to build homes in floodplains.

Karl Mallon, CEO of Sydney-based Climate Valuation,

Heavy rains hit several parts of the country this week, sweeping away houses, roads and livestock and cutting off entire towns in the east. Dangerous flash floods killed two people and more than 40,000 people were forced to flee their homes.

“They call Australia ‘disaster alley’ because we’ve got a bit of everything,” said Karl Mallon, CEO of Sydney-based Climate Valuation, which advises homeowners and buyers on climate and extreme weather risks…

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