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Fires, storms, blackouts in Victoria: This is climate change

IMG-f0efad0516b33bc75766d1f5c7085706-V.jpgWe have been hearing lots of things this week:

“This is what climate change looks like - intense fire, catastrophic winds, houses and infrastructure collapsing - and we are not ready”

“We need to build resilience from the ground up, from home and state level, ensure our energy system is resilient in the face of extreme weather events and increased our capacity to fight fires”

“We need to make sure Victoria is ready for more of these climate impacts”

“The winds made the fire unfightable”

“We aren’t prepared for multiple climate impacts at the same time”

Like many people around the state, Friends of the Earth staff and volunteers have been hit hard by this week’s extreme events. Some have had to evacuate their homes, others have spent days fighting fires and cleaning up after storms. In our networks and communities we hear the same stories and feel the shock as we look out at landscapes that have been devastated almost beyond recognition.

The past 4 days of fires, storms and blackouts have shown us that this is what climate change looks like - and we’re not ready for it. Intense fires, catastrophic winds, houses burning and power infrastructure collapsing highlights the lack of climate preparedness that exists in this state.  

We need to make sure Victoria is ready for more of these climate impacts. 

Regular evacuations, loss of lives, homes and power are our new reality. Think of this summer: early bushfires in Gippsland, followed by flooding in the east, and then flooding across much of northern Victoria. And now wild storms and more fires - more frequent disasters will undermine the ability of individuals and their communities to recover. These ‘compound disasters’ demonstrate the climate impacts that we need to adapt to. 

Climate science makes it clear that we must radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions now if we want to have a hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change. But we also know that we are already locked into many decades of impacts, and this weeks events show we have much to do:

1/ In the short term we must support affected communities as they recover. Check here for our guide to supporting recovery efforts in western VIC.

2/ We need to plan and build in energy system resilience as a key priority as we transition away from fossil fuels, and invest in a modern, flexible, decarbonised grid that is future-proofed.

3/ We must increase our ability to respond rapidly and effectively to fires when they do start. Check here for some of our proposals.

4/ We need to support communities as they prepare for future disasters - please support our call for the state government to establish a permanent Victorian Community Climate Adaptation Fund (VCCAF).

You can show your support by adding your name to our letter to the Victorian government here.

We are calling on Premier Alan to commit to a Climate Ready Vic. Join us in emailing the Premier today.

And if you have been impacted by recent events or know of good local recovery initiatives, please get in touch and let us know how we can assist. [email protected]

If you’re interested in our plan for a Climate Ready Victoria, please have a look here.

HEADER IMAGE: the fire in gariwerd/ The Grampians on tuesday. Image from FFMV.










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