For decades climate change deniers have been peddling a big lie: that the rising incidence of deadly weather was a series of isolated events and the climate was not changing.
That is now a very hard line to push in the wake, first of all, of the "Black Summer" bushfires of 2019 and 2020 and, more recently, the cascade of devastating flood events across the eastern seaboard.
This week's flooding had pushed as far inland as Bathurst, indicating regional areas situated a long way from the coast including the ACT, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth and so on are not going to be immune from flooding as bad or worse than the record inundations of the mid-1950s.
Some areas around Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast have now experienced two, three, or more once-in-a-century or once-in-150-year floods in little over a year. That's just not normal by any stretch of the imagination. For the tens of thousands of people directly affected this has been devastating. The impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change are making themselves felt even more quickly than many experts had expected. This means while the discussion over emissions reductions targets, and how to achieve them, are as vital as ever, an even more important conversation needs to be had about building mitigation and resilience into the system.
It's not sustainable to have heavily populated areas such as those around the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers flooding on a semi-regular basis.
Australians in the danger zones sometimes only have 48 hours warning or less that a disaster is coming. Speaking at a summit held on June 29 by the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, Minister for Emergency Management Senator Murray Watt, said: "I'm noticing ... that while I could walk around in opposition and mouth off about other people, all of a sudden when you are the minister people really pay attention to what you say".
Little did he know that within less than a week he would be dealing with a clear and present danger to tens of thousands of people along the east coast. While, to date, we've heard a lot from Mr Watt about what he and his government plan to do, this is the acid test. His government's handling of this crisis is going to come under intense scrutiny given the harsh criticism of the previous government's reaction to the last flood emergency just over three months ago.
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