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Monday, January 30, 2023

Mal Cronstedt: Urgent action needed to prevent more unnatural disasters

As northern WA reels from the aftermath of our worst floods ever, the south of our State is bone-dry and highly prone to major bushfires. The era of unnatural disasters is upon us.

In my 40 years in the emergency services, I’ve never seen anything like the extent and scale of damage that the flooding in northern WA has caused to communities, business, and infrastructure. Experts are saying that rebuilding could take years, and the cost of the disasters will continue to mount.

The science is clear: climate change, fuelled by the burning of fossil fuels, is driving a frightening increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather disasters. With an atmosphere that is warmer, wetter and packing more energy, tropical cyclones such as Ellie can become more intense and destructive, dumping more rainfall. It has been heartening to see our elected politicians acknowledging the facts too.

Climate change also exacerbates the hot, dry conditions that lead to longer and more dangerous bushfire seasons — a bleak reality for towns in the south-west, which have been battling bushfires for months now.

The extraordinary tally of official disaster declarations for the country already this summer ­­­­­­­— 29 of those in our State alone — is eye-watering.

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