“This is very ‘now’. This isn't a future problem which is 10 or 20 or 30 years (away).” Climate Risk Expert
Across Australia, farmers, small businesses, government planners and major corporations have stopped waiting for politicians to decide whether climate change is real. They’re acting now.
“That debate can rage around us. If I say to my customers, ‘Don't worry, in 200 years it will all be okay.’ That's not going to cut it.” CEO
Mounting evidence suggests our changing climate is having an impact on everything - from what we grow, eat and drink, to house prices and the cost of insurance.
“If you own a home in one of those areas and you try to sell it, you may find that the buyer is saying, ‘Well, I'm not going to be able to insure it.’… Or even, ‘I can't even get a mortgage on this house because the bank is saying, 'Well, we don't want the high-risk properties on our books.’” Climate Risk Expert
Four Corners has travelled from coast to coast to chart how Australians are adapting to the new weather challenges.
“The temperatures are more erratic. We seem to get frosts in the middle of summer, we’ve had frosts nearly on Christmas day. We’re getting hot, dry weather in the middle of winter.” Cattle farmer
“We were probably sceptics... but when we saw those 10 years of drought and the impact it was having on our business… our board decided that we needed to make some significant changes.” Leading wine maker
From farm kitchens to the board rooms of our major cities, people are changing the way they do business.
“It is clear that directors do have duties to take climate risk into account as a foreseeable financial risk, and a failure to do so may expose them to liability for a breach of their duty of due care and diligence.” Corporate risk adviser
Emergency services and state health departments too, have had to significantly alter the way they operate in the face of increasing “extreme” weather.
“It is a significant hazard for us as emergency management agencies. We need to plan and prepare for it because we can get a significant number of people who will end up being very unwell.” Director of Emergency Management
This is a story that leaves the politics behind and shows what the challenges are for many people across Australia in the face of this ‘new normal’.
Weather Alert, reported by Michael Brissenden and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 5th March at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 6th March at 1.00pm and Wednesday 7th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEDT, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.