Climate change report: Rising sea levels predicted to cost Australia $226 billion

A report by the Climate Council, Counting the Costs: Climate Change and Coastal Flooding has found sea levels are already rising and are continuing to rise due to climate change, potentially costing more than $226 billion to Australia’s infrastructure, with close to 250,000 homes at risk.

The main areas to be affected are the Australian coasts, which are expected to be exposed to flooding and erosion at a sea level rise of 1.1m by 2100. While the report stated this is a scenario, it explained it is “quite plausible,” as coastal flooding is a “sleeping giant.”

“The sea level has already risen and continues to rise due to climate change. Climate change exacerbates coastal flooding from a storm surge as the storm rides on higher sea levels.”

The report said that Australia is highly vulnerable to increasing coastal flooding, as our cities, towns and critical infrastructure are mainly located on the coast. “Australia’s infrastructure has been built for the climate of the 20th century and is unprepared for rising sea level.”

MoneySmart advised people who live in an area prone to natural disasters that home and contents insurance is essential and advised Aussies to check your policy to ensure you’re covered in the case of a disaster. “Unfortunately, some people find that their claims will not be paid and end up paying hefty repair costs themselves. Flood cover is not offered in all home and contents insurance policies.”