Climate Risk mapping for Moreland: climate impacts and insurability

May 4, 2022 at 1:59 am 2 comments

The Climate Council has just put out a new report: Uninsurable Nation: Australia’s most Climate Vulnerable Places. Along with this report they have produced a climate risk map for Australia in which they list the hazards: riverine flooding, bushfire, surface water flooding, coastal inundation, and extreme wind. They also project properties at high and medium risk for 2030, 2050 and 2100.

The Climate Risk map allows you to drill down to the suburb level, or Local Government Area or Federal Electorate. Moreland is not one of the top municipalities for climate risk, but the mapping is surprising for what it reveals.

This report highlights climate impacts are already ocurring and having an economic impact on insurance and insurability. Unless we take action, costs will continue to escalate. Climate Action Moreland has recently held a climate forum with Candidates for Wills, and also compared Party climate policies for Wills and the Victorian Senate for consistency with the Paris Agreement 1.5C target. We urge you to consider voting in the Federal election for candidates with strong climate policies and use your preferences wisely.

For 2030 high emissions scanario Moreland has 2.62% of properties at risk. That is 1221 properties at high risk and another 1295 properties at medium risk. Most of the risk across the municipality is from Riverine flooding, while Brunswick also has properties suffering surface level flooding (flash flooding). The number of properties impacted escalates for 2050 and 2100 scenarios.

The risk in Moreland’s suburbs also differs. Gowenbrae, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale and Coburg North the property risk from riverine flooding is all above 5 percent by 2030. By 2100 the property risk in Coburg north is estimated at 11.22% or 288 properties at high risk and another 292 properties at medium risk.

Keep in mind we are already at 1.47C degrees of global warming here in Australia. For every degree of warming there is about 7 per cent extra moisture carrying capacity in the atmosphere. That means when we get storms or torrential rain, it is likely to be more intense and simply greater rainfall for short periods. With all the paved surfaces in urban environments there is more water retention and fast runoff into suburban drains and creek systems causing riverine flooding, or local surface flooding.

I have excerpted the data for High emissions scenario for 2030, 2050, and 2100 for all of Moreland’s suburbs below:

Suburb/projection/High emissions ScenarioProperties at riskHigh riskMedium riskTotal properties
Gowenbrae 2030 High11.31%13711220
Gowenbrae 2050 High11.56%13741220
Gowenbrae 2100 High11.72%13761220
Glenroy 2030 High0.38%74012382
Glenroy 2050 High0.41%74412382
Glenroy 2100 High0.86%710012382
Fawkner 2030 High0.45%3266450
Fawkner 2050 High0.53%3316450
Fawkner 2100 High1.71%41066450
Hadfield 2030 High3.23%19823126
Hadfield 2050 High3.26%20823126
Hadfield 2100 High4.16%34963126
Oak Park 2030 High5.85%111963541
Oak Park 2050 High6.81%1331083541
Oak Park 2100 High7.99%1371463541
Pascoe Vale 2030 High5.51%3661829948
Pascoe Vale 2050 High6.03%3782229948
Pascoe Vale 2100 High6.56%3792749948
Pascoe Vale South 2030 High4.50%751394752
Pascoe Vale South 2050 High4.78%891384752
Pascoe Vale South 2100 High5.01%991404752
Coburg North 2030 High8.92%2332285171
Coburg North 2050 High9.07%2372325171
Coburg North 2100 High11.22%2882925171
Coburg 2030 High0.83%1210814384
Coburg 2050 High0.90%1211714384
Coburg 2100 High1.54%1221014384
Brunswick West 2030 High3.28%1591489353
Brunswick West 2050 High3.49%1721549353
Brunswick West 2100 High3.92%1761919353
Brunswick 2030 High0.94%866916433
Brunswick 2050 High1.13%1176816433
Brunswick 2100 High1.53%12712416433
Brunswick East 2030 High1.84%131539020
Brunswick East 2050 High1.84%131539020
Brunswick East 2100 High2%691119020
Electorate: Wills 2030 High2.50%1046117288722
Wills 2050 High2.69%1143124788722
Wills 2100 High3.28%1287162788722
LGA: Moreland 2030 High2.62%1221129596188
Moreland 2050 High2.80%1318137696188
Moreland 2100 High3.45%1468184896188

This climate risk will have implications for general household insurance with insurers using suburb risk for actuarial purposes to price insurance offers. So even if your house is not at risk, your insurance premium might be higher due to your suburb risk. This adds to the cost of living.

Riverine flooding and surface flooding also adds to the costs of Council maintenance of infrastructure. Council’s are not at the moment funded for dealing with climate damages and climate adaptation for infrastructure that needs upgrading. Think drainage, roads and footpaths. Across Australia municipal and shire councils’ manage about 25 percent of public infrastructure, but their revenue is only about 5 per cent of all public revenue.

The impacts of climate change are already here. This will add to costs of living, which will only increase due to lack of action in reducing emissions, or failure to do proper national climate risk assessment and climate adaptation planning as part of our commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“The UN climate framework outlines how to prepare for climate impacts through risk assessments and adaptation plans. While the majority of countries have adopted these plans, the Australian Government refuses to do so and pushes this overwhelming responsibility onto state and local governments, leading to confusion and maladaptation.

“One can only assume the Australian Government avoids modeling the potential costs and impacts of climate change because the findings would compel it to take action and significantly increase its climate target and halt new fossil fuel projects.

said the Australia Institute, Media Release, March 1, 2022

Moreland also has a high human vulnerability to extreme heat events. This imposes less cost to buildings and infrastructure but poses far greater health hazard to people, especially in vulnerable categories. The economic cost of extreme heat is in reduction in work hours, especially for those working outside, but it can also affect the efficiency of the electricity grid and cause slowdowns and disruptions to public transport operation. (see Englart, J. ,2015, Climate change and heatwaves in Melbourne – a Review)

More frequent disasters for SE Queensland, Northern NSW, Brisbane & Melbourne

The Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities had Deloitte Access Economics produce a Special report: Update to the economic costs of natural disasters in Australia in 2021. The report outlined the present and projected future costs of disasters. “Natural disasters cost the Australian economy $38 billion per year on average, representing approximately 2% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020. Even under a low emissions scenario – whereby timely action will see emissions start to fall and reach zero by 2100 – this cost will rise to at least $73 billion annually by 2060, or 4% of Australia’s GDP in 2020.”

For the High emissions scenario (which we are currently on), ” By 2060 costs reach $94 billion, representing a 29% increase relative to the low emissions scenario.”

The Deloitte report also identifies that SE Queensland, Northern Rivers of NSW, Brisbane and Melbourne are particularly susceptible to more frequent disasters:

“Using new data which reports damage costs at a more granular level, this report finds that coastal population centres in South East Queensland and North East NSW will experience some of the highest increases in costs as they become more exposed to tropical cyclones and floods, as warming oceans enable tropical cyclones to move further south.

Costs in Melbourne and Brisbane will also increase significantly, as major rivers in these cities alongside growing populations will lead to greater costs associated with flooding for Melbourne and tropical cyclones and floods for Brisbane.”

Deloitte Access Economics: Special report: Update to the economic costs of natural disasters in Australia (2021)

See March 24, 2022 CAMoreland Blog: Moreland joins Australian Mayors call for more Disaster support to Local Councils by Federal Government.

Key findings by Climate Council study:

1. Climate change is creating an insurability crisis in Australia due to worsening extreme weather and sky-rocketing insurance premiums. 

  • Worsening extreme weather means increased costs of maintenance, repair and replacement to properties – our homes, workplaces and commercial buildings. As the risk of being affected by extreme weather events is increasing, insurers are raising premiums to cover the increased cost of claims and reinsurance.
  • The Climate Council has produced a ranking of the top 10 most at risk electorates from climate change and extreme weather events (covering bushfires, extreme wind and different types of flooding), based on the percentage of ‘high risk’ properties in each federal electorate across Australia.
  • Across Australia approximately 520,940 properties, or one in every 25, will be ‘high risk’, having annual damage costs from extreme weather and climate change that make them effectively uninsurable by 2030.  In addition, 9% of properties (1 in 11) will reach the ‘medium risk’ classification by 2030, with annual damage costs that equate to 0.2-1% of the property replacement cost. These properties are at risk of becoming underinsured.

2. Climate change affects all Australians, but some federal electorates face far greater risks than others. 

  • The top 10 most at-risk federal electorates by 2030 are: 
    – 1. Nicholls (Vic) 
    – 2. Richmond (NSW) 
    – 3. Maranoa (QLD) 
    – 4. Moncrieff (QLD), 
    – 5. Wright (QLD), 
    – 6. Brisbane (QLD), 
    – 7. Griffith (QLD), 
    – 8. Indi (Vic) 
    – 9. Page (NSW) and 
    – 10. Hindmarsh (SA). 
  • In these at-risk electorates, 15% of properties (165,646) or around one in every seven properties will be uninsurable this decade.  
  • In the electorate of Nicholls in Victoria, which covers the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Moira, and parts of Strathbogie and Mitchell, 26.5% of properties will be uninsurable by 2030. In the LGA of Greater Shepparton, it is as many as half (56% of properties), and almost 90% in the locality of Shepparton. 
  • By 2030, 40 federal electorates across Australia will have 4% of properties classified as ‘high risk. Eighteen of these electorates (or 45%) are in Queensland. The top five most at-risk electorates in Queensland are: Maranoa, Moncrieff, Wright, Brisbane and Griffith. 
  • The percentage of properties that will be uninsurable by 2030 in each state and territory is 6.5% in Queensland; 3.3% in NSW; 3.2% in South Australia; 2.6% in Victoria; 2.5% in the Northern Territory; 2.4% in Western Australia; 2% in Tasmania and 1.3% in the ACT.

3. Riverine floods are the most costly disaster in Australia. 

  • Riverine flooding poses the biggest risk to properties. Of the properties classified as uninsurable by 2030, 80% of that risk is due to riverine flooding. 
  • Bushfires and surface water flooding (sometimes called flash flooding) are the other major worsening hazards causing properties to become uninsurable by 2030. 
  • The five most at-risk electorates for riverine flooding are: Nicholls in Victoria, Richmond in New South Wales (including the towns of Ballina, Bangalow, Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay, Hastings Point, Kingscliff, Lennox Head, Mullumbimby, and Tweed Heads), and Maranoa (in rural southwestern Queensland, including the towns of Roma, Stanthorpe, Winton and Warwick), Brisbane, and Moncrieff in Queensland (part of the Gold Coast). 
  • Across Australia, 2.5% of properties (360,691 properties) will be at ‘high risk’ of riverine flooding by 2030, with a further 372,684 at ‘medium risk’ of riverine flooding. 

4. Decisions and actions over this next term of government will influence the future impacts of climate change for generations to come.

  • Unfortunately over the last eight years, the Federal government has failed to meaningfully tackle climate change or prepare Australians for worsening extreme weather.
  • A key test for all candidates in the upcoming Federal Election is whether they are supporting policies that drive deep emissions cuts now through the 2020s, aligned with limiting the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C. 
  • There is also an urgent need to upscale investment in national adaptation and disaster risk reduction funding to help Australians better prepare for worsening extreme weather events. 

Nicki Hutley, Climate Councillor, leading economist and former Partner at Deloitte Access Economics said: “It is clear that Australia is fast becoming an uninsurable nation. Skyrocketing costs or flat out insurance ineligibility are becoming more and more widespread under climate change. 

“As an economist, I find these new numbers shocking and deeply concerning. I urge all Australians to use this tool to understand the risk they and their communities face as we progress through this critical make or break climate decade. This map makes it clear that the emissions pathway the next federal government sets us on will play a critical role in determining the insurability and future prosperity of entire communities and regions across the country.”  

References:

Entry filed under: climate change info, election, news, Vote Climate. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Comparing Party policies on climate against Consistency with Paris Agreement 1.5C Goal in #Willsvotes and Victorian Senate Regenerating Australia at Merlynston: visioning a net zero future

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