New report assesses the human, environmental and economic costs of the summer’s extreme weather events

A new report produced by the Climate Council has looked at the devastating climate impacts Australians experienced this summer.

The bushfire season started in winter and was the worst on record for New South Wales in terms of its intensity, the area burned, and the number of properties lost. It was also the worst season on record for properties lost in Queensland.

“The data contained in this new report confirms what we all suspected. The bushfire season was the worst on record for New South Wales in terms of the scale of the bushfires, the number of properties lost and the amount of area burned. Climate change fuelled the unprecedented fires,” said Climate Councillor and former Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, Greg Mullins.

“The fires produced more greenhouse gas emissions than Australia normally emits annually.”

The report, Summer of Crisis, reported the following key findings:

  • Nearly 80 percent of Australians were affected either directly or indirectly by the bushfires.
  • Nationally, an estimated one billion animals were killed by the bushfires.
  • This season’s fires were incredibly large in area, even compared to forests all around the world. Around 21 percent of Australian temperate broadleaf and mixed forests was burnt. The average annual area burnt for most continents, including Australia, is well below 5%.
  • Catastrophic fire danger ratings were experienced at locations and times of the year never before recorded.

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. You can download their Summer of Crisis report on their website.