PM calls for expert advice on climate resilience

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced that CSIRO, supported by the Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, and an expert advisory panel, will provide advice to governments on future climate resilience measures, including buildings, public infrastructure, industries such as agriculture, and protecting our natural assets.

Speaking at the National Press Club on January 29, Mr Morrison said he would be discussing resilience measures with the states and territories at COAG in March, including the Commonwealth Government’s investment through the National Bushfire Recovery Agency with the aim of ensuring assets are “built to resist, built to survive longer, hotter, drier summers”.

Responding to the PM's announcement, CSIRO Chief Executive, Larry Marshall, said climate change can be expected to cause hotter, drier seasons, and more fire danger days.

"CSIRO will provide recommendations on how we can better prepare for and manage bushfires when they occur, including new tools driven by science and technology.

"We will draw on our almost 70-year history of bushfire research across multiple fields of science including land management, building and materials design, fire protection and testing, and biodiversity management."

Cr Marshall said the CSIRO would "bring every branch of science and technology to bear on this challenge through our partnerships with every Australian university and every government department or agency.

CEO of the Investor Group on Climate Change, Emma Herd, welcomed the announcement, saying investors are already making decisions on whether or not to deploy capital in Australia on the basis of their own climate change risk assessments.

“Responding to the growing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like fires and drought will increasingly challenge the contingency funds of all levels of government. Unlocking the billions of dollars in private investment that could be deployed into adaptation measures, such as protecting critical infrastructure and improving building standards, is essential to boosting Australia’s climate resilience. The announcement of the Finkel-CSIRO review of possible national adaptation measures is a good step.

Ms Herd said that to accelerate private sector investment into resilience, the implementation of the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework should be brought forward.

She proposed that additional measures would include an updated national assessment of infrastructure to identify the greatest areas of climate risk.

“Investors could then be engaged in adaptation programs with a co-funding mechanism similar to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation,” she said.

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