AUSTRALIA HAS JUST sweltered through its hottest summer on record, with more than 200 extreme weather records broken around the country, a new Climate Council report has revealed.
The Climate Council’s report, “The Angriest Summer” shows the past three months were characterised by prolonged heatwaves, record hot days and bushfires across the country.
“Every state experienced serious bushfires with properties lost in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania,” said Climate Councillor and former Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, Greg Mullins.
“Climate change has lengthened bushfire seasons. In NSW, firefighters battled blazes for most of the year, while firefighters in WA, Qld and Tasmania experienced fires outside the normal fire season. This puts a great deal of pressure on fire fighters; we simply don’t have the resources for this new reality,” said Mr Mullins.
“In Queensland and Tasmania we have witnessed pristine rainforest, previously not prone to bushfires, suffering irreparable damage,” he said.
Report Key Findings
- The Angriest Summer of 2018/19 was characterised by prolonged, continental-wide heatwaves and record hot days, bushfires throughout Australia, and heavy rainfall and flooding in northern Queensland.
- In just 90 days, 206 records were broken around Australia.
- The Angriest Summer was driven by greenhouse gas pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil and gas, and land clearing.
- The window to effectively tackle climate change is rapidly closing but many of the solutions we need are already at hand.
“The Australian summer has traditionally been associated with relaxation: BBQs in the sun and long days at the beach. But with temperatures now nudging 50 degrees in some places, the Aussie summer is morphing into a season of anxiety,” said the Climate Council’s CEO, Amanda McKenzie.
“Record hot days have a big knock on effect: kids can’t play sport when the temperature is regularly above 40 degrees, elderly people with chronic disease are at increased risk and animals are also vulnerable,” said Ms McKenzie.
“This summer was so hot we witnessed fruit cooking on trees. In Sydney, authorities warned steel train tracks could buckle under the extreme heat. In Melbourne, the Australian Tennis Open had to implement its new extreme-heat policy, postponing matches, as temperatures soared. What we’re living with is part of a long-term warming trend driven by the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing,” she said.
“For many years scientists have warned that climate change is driving worsening extreme weather. This Angriest Summer is another example of the consequences of climate change,” she said.
“Protecting Australians from worsening extreme weather requires phasing out fossil fuels and accelerating the transition to renewables and storage technologies,” she said.
“Tackling climate change effectively requires credible national policy to drive down greenhouse gas pollution from fossil fuels across all sectors. Right now the Federal Government has no credible policy and pollution has gone up and up and up,” said Ms McKenzie.
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The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.
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