COSBOA has hit out at Australian politicians, calling on the “sensible” ones to unite and commit to necessary climate adaptation actions — regardless of their individual political affiliations.
The small business organisation has opined that given recent disasters, it is time for politicians to promote a shared goal of minimising future economic, social and environmental harm from climate-related natural disasters.
“The recent fires and floods were predicted, yet little was done to prepare communities,” said Peter Strong, COSBOA CEO.
“The outcome has been losses that should not have occurred; we have seen families and businesses impacted when they should have been given information to help better prepare. We have seen communities destroyed. Government response, at all levels, has been piecemeal, slow and indeed lacking.”
COSBOA had earlier called for plans for adaptation due to climate change to be written and implemented, Mr Strong explained, before it discovered that these plans already exist but were shelved.
“We believe the belligerence of climate change skeptics and deniers, combined with the timidness of everyone else, has caused governments to ignore these essential plans. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people have suffered unnecessarily, and the economy is taking a hit.
“Politicians can agree on adaptation and preparation yet still disagree on mitigation. These are two different actions. Get the first issue right as it is a pressing need.”
Mr Strong added that “it is incredibly important to note the difference between mitigation and adaptation”.
“The mitigation debate is emotional and ideological; the adaptation debate is pragmatic and about real-time events and issues. The affected people — business people, employees, pensioners and the needy — are at their wits’ ends. There is no doubt the debate on mitigation has caused adaptation to be ignored,” he said.
“We must act now on adaptation and implement meaningful resilience actions to limit the economic loss, emotional suffering and environmental destruction from climate change events in the future.”
In 2007, all governments signed on to the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework, which covers a range of cooperative actions between all governments in the country, to begin to address key demands from business and the community for targeted information on climate change impacts and adaptation options.
Eight years later, in 2015, the federal government developed a National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy (NCRAS).
Elements of the NCRAS were then picked up in the 2018 National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework, but this comprehensive strategy was not funded and not actioned.