Queensland's economy could be paying up to $60 billion a year in just 18 years' time to mop up after extreme weather events if climate change continues unabated, a new report has warned.

The Hitting Home report released today by the Climate Council said Queensland had already paid $18 billion between 2010 and 2019 for natural disasters, more than every other state and territory combined.

It comes as Australia's busy 2020-21 La Nina season continues, with the Bureau of Meteorology yesterday warning that a tropical cyclone could form in the Gulf of Carpentaria later today.

Chaos in Toowoomba amid flash flooding in January 2011
Chaos in Toowoomba amid flash flooding in January 2011

The slow moving tropical depression could even intensify into a category two system by Friday, with Mornington Island, and townships between Karumba and Aurukun have been put on alert for gale force winds.

The Climate Council has today released a new report forecasting the Sunshine State's economy Could be slugged $60 billion a year by natural disasters by just 2038.

A cyclone forms in the Gulf of Carpentaria this week.
A cyclone forms in the Gulf of Carpentaria this week.

Queensland University of Technology Professor Hilary Bambrick said Queensland paid $18 billion for natural disasters between 2010 and 2019, making up more than half of the national total of $35 billion.

Prof. Bambrick said warming of just a few degrees could have disastrous consequences not just in terms of more severe cyclones and droughts, but also in putting the Great Barrier Reef at "extreme risk."

"If we get up to 2C, virtually all coral reefs around the world would be destroyed," she said.

"We are on track (for 2C) at the moment."



Prof. Bambrick said Queensland was already the worst affected state or territory in Australia.

"We're seeing every year more extreme and unprecedented events. Every weather event that's happening now is happening in a supercharged climate," she said.

But Prof. Bambrick said action could be taken now to limit the future fallout.

"There's actually so many benefits to taking that transformative action now, especially in Australia where we've got solar and wind," she said.

"It's something we should really be looking at now as we head toward an economic recovery from COVID-19."

Grazier Angus Emmott, who has been on a property southwest of Longreach all his life, said he'd found droughts were becoming more severe and rain events more damaging.

"We're not breeding cattle anymore, we're finding it too difficult with the long dry periods," Mr Emmott said.

"We now buy and sell depending on the season and our ability to sell off cattle stock at the end of the period."

Originally published as Climate cost: State's disaster bill to hit $60b a year