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Contemporary Disaster Inquiries in Australia

In my series on the Climate Change Emergency Preparedness Inquiry I’ve discussed past disaster inquiries. This post attempts to index all disaster related inquiries in Australia since 2000. See my newer post here for a list of inquiries prior to 2000.

For the purposes of this list I’ll define an inquiry as any investigation conducted or commissioned by an arm of state or federal government (ie. legislative, executive or judicial) into a specific disaster or a general disaster related topic. I won’t however list reports on disaster related bills or strategies (for example the National Disaster Resilience Strategy), reports that are not publicly available or those commissioned by NGOs, associations and the private sector. I’m including any inquiry that reported after 01/01/2000.

I find that there have been more than 200 disaster related inquiries since 2000. If you’re aware of anything I’ve missed please let me know in the comments.

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Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Emergency Preparedness Senate Inquiry: Part 3

In the previous two posts I have examined current trends and future projections of climate change impacts on natural hazards, the estimated costs of extreme weather and potential insurance impacts. In this instalment I move onto the preparedness terms of reference:

(c) an assessment of the preparedness of key sectors for extreme weather events, including major infrastructure (electricity, water, transport, telecommunications), health, construction and property, and agriculture and forestry;

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Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Emergency Preparedness Senate Inquiry: Part 2

As a new report shows greenhouse gas emissions are putting the globe on a track for 4-6ºC of warming by the end of the century I’ll continue my series on the Senate Recent trends in and preparedness for extreme weather events Inquiry. In the last instalment I looked at current and historical trends in extreme weather and attribution of them to climate change. In this post I look forward to the next ToR:

(b) based on global warming scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation of 1 to 5 degrees by 2070:

(i) projections on the frequency of extreme weather events, including but not limited to drought, bushfires, heatwaves, floods and storm surges,

(ii) the costs of extreme weather events and impacts on natural ecosystems, social and economic infrastructure and human health, and

(iii) the availability and affordability of private insurance, impacts on availability and affordability under different global warming scenarios, and regional social and economic impacts; (more…)

Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Emergency Preparedness Senate Inquiry: Part 1

This week the Australian Greens established a Senate Inquiry on extreme weather and emergency preparedness. The inquiry will be conducted by the Environment and Communications Reference Committee. Details and instructions on making submissions can be found here.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be addressing each of the terms of reference on this blog, gathering and summarising relevant literature and providing my own opinion. I’ll also add some context around past state and federal inquiries and other activities of a similar nature and outline why I don’t believe this inquiry will make a significant difference in the preparedness of our emergency services. Submissions are due by 18 January 2013 and the committee is due to report on 20 March 2013 (I expect that the deadline will probably need to be extended).

Today I’ll examine the first ToR. Warning – heavy science content.

(a) recent trends on the frequency of extreme weather events, including but not limited to drought, bushfires, heatwaves, floods and storm surges;

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