The ACT Government is taking steps to ensure it is not caught out by the effects of climate change on its operations.
It has hired Aecom Australia to conduct a whole-of-government climate change risk assessment that will take in the next quarter century to 2045.
While Aecom’s final report won’t be made public it will contribute to the update of the existing 2017 Territory-wide Risk Assessment, guide policy decisions, identify priority areas and mitigation strategies and help support business cases for future actions.
The Government wants to know how well its operations and assets are prepared to meet the challenges presented by climate change and what impacts there might be on its ability to deliver services, continue daily business and on its major assets.
This study follows work done earlier in the year on the social cost of carbon emissions to guide government policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help avert the effects of global warming and climate change.
The Government says the risk posed by climate change is huge, citing a 2020 Deloitte Access Economics report that estimated that by 2070 the economic cost of unchecked climate change to the nation would be a $3.4 trillion loss in GDP in today’s terms.
It says the impacts of climate change are already being felt in the ACT such as average temperature increases, the Black Summer bushfires event and the freak hailstorm in January 2020, which had implications for both public health and emergency services and government infrastructure.
The Government wants to know the extent of current risks are and what they may be in the years to come.
Part of the assessment will include at least two scenarios, including one involving high emissions, drawing on the latest NSW and ACT Regional Climate Modelling.
It wants to know what threats there might be, how severe they could be, how government might have to adapt and what new services might be required.
It also wants to know how much these threats and responses might cost government.
Aecom will consult with ACT stakeholders and agencies and take into account the climate change work Government has already done including its Climate Change Strategy, Living Infrastructure plan, emergency response plans and ambitious emission reduction targets.
It is expected to deliver a final report by 15 December and is being paid just over $170,000 for the work.