Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia will “always” be a land of drought and rain, as a major UN climate report warns the region is at risk of more extreme weather.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report says Australia is at increasing risk of extreme weather conditions, such as low rainfall, worse bushfires and more intense cyclones.
The landmark report, released in Japan on Monday, warns most nations are “ill-prepared” for the risks of a changing climate, which will likely worsen if global warming continues unabated.
Mr Abbott said the IPCC message had been calling for greater action on climate change for years, and that’s why the federal government was pushing ahead with its plan for reducing emissions.
But he said Australia had always been a nation of temperamental weather.
“The CSIRO, amongst many other reputable scientific organisations, has cautioned against attributing any particularly weather event to man-made climate change,’ he told reporters in Perth on Monday.
“Australia is a land of droughts and flooding rains, always have been, always will be.”
Attributing climate change to extreme weather – particularly bushfires – has proved controversial in Australia, with politicians on both sides reluctant at times to link the two.
This is despite the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology this year warning Australia’s climate will continue to warm, bringing more extreme heat and longer fire seasons across the country.