Australian news, and some related international items

Climate change is pushing cyclones further South

Watch out, Gold Coast, climate change is pushing cyclones further South Cyclone the size of Debbie could be catastrophic for Gold Coast, modelling shows, The Age, Eryk Bagshaw, 2 Apr 17, 

A cyclone the size of Debbie could have catastrophic consequences on the Gold Coast, new modelling has shown, as climate change pushes cyclones further south and puts tens of billions of dollars worth of infrastructure at risk.

Actuaries, who predict and model scenarios for banks and insurers, have warned properties could become “uninsurable” as premiums rise to meet environmental challenges. Debbie devastated northern Queensland and swept floods into NSW which caused $1 billion in damage, forced 30,000 people to evacuate and took two lives.

Under modelling compiled by Deloitte’s principal actuary Sharanjit Paddam and James Cook University, a shift in the cyclone-prone region of just three degrees would cause winds in excess of 260km/h to hit the Gold Coast and stretch as far as Brisbane, where many homes and towers do not meet cyclonic safety standards.

The “sting in the tail” of ex-Cyclone Debbie battered the Gold Coast this week with winds half as strong as those that hit Bowen and Proserpine, along with torrential downpours.  

  • It comes a month after one of the nation’s chief financial regulators, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, warned that banks and insurers must “rise to the challenge” of climate change and can no longer continue to view it “within a purely ethical or environmental frame”.
  • APRA executive board member Geoff Summerhayes said in February this was “no longer the case”, as Europe’s regulators lead the world on climate change risk modelling.
  • “Some climate risks are distinctly ‘financial’ in nature. Many of these risks were foreseeable, material and actionable now,” he said.

    “If you’re an investor and you’re not already asking questions about how the companies you invest in approach these issues – perhaps you should be.”

  • For the first time this year the big four banks, all the major insurers and super funds have been brought together to discuss how to finance protection from climate change, along with a separate business adaptation network that includes construction giants Lendlease and Stockland.

    Under Mr Paddam’s analysis, the risk could push up insurance premiums by as much as 250 per cent, making some buildings “uninsurable”.  “Cyclones need a certain temperature to continue,” he said.  “As temperatures rise by 2 degrees they will come further south.”

    He said building standards for protection against cyclones do not go all the way down to south-east Queensland according to Australian wind zone classifications. …….


April 3, 2017 - Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland

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