Australia has for months been battling scores of fires across the country’s east coast that have killed 29 people and millions of animals, destroyed more than 2,500 homes and scorched an area roughly one-third the size of Germany.
Bushfires are common in Australia but the season has started much earlier than usual.
With the crisis illustrating the threat of a changing climate, a Deloitte survey global business leaders showed 81% of Australian executives believe climate change will harm their company.
“Businesses need to demonstrate to investors that they are taking appropriate steps to mitigate their exposure,” said Robert Hillard, chief strategy and innovation officer at Deloitte Australia.
The findings add pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is under a barrage of criticism for his government’s handling of the crisis.
Morrison has said strengthening Australia’s carbon emission reduction targets will damage the economy.
Public anger, however, remains high, stoked further when senior government officials publicly disputed climate change.
“It is a test of his leadership. He must show that he can stare down his own party and get it to stay quiet,” said Haydon Manning, professor at the college of business, government and law at Flinders University.
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