Too hot to handle: Capital cities to swelter through twice as many days above 35°C unless stronger climate action is taken

28.02.24 By

Australian capital cities are set to swelter through twice as many days above 35°C by the end of the century, a detailed analysis from the Climate Council has found.

But there’s hope: reducing climate pollution globally now could slash the number of scorching days by an average of 20 percent across Australian communities.

Thousands of data points from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate Change in Australia project were analysed by the geospatial team Spatial Vision, who worked alongside the Climate Council to develop a new interactive heat map tool.

The map projects the average number of hot and very hot days, as well as very hot nights, for each Australian suburb by 2050 and 2090 under three scenarios: 

  1. No action, where global emissions rise throughout the 21st century 
  2. Existing action, what we’d see if all countries meet their current commitments for emission reductions
  3. Necessary action, a much stronger pathway that requires almost all countries, including Australia, to substantially strengthen their existing climate commitments and actions.

Any Australian can input their suburb or postcode to the heat map, to see how stronger action on climate pollution can affect the heat in their area. 

Amanda McKenzie, Climate Council CEO said: “Climate pollution is rapidly turning up the heat in Australia. Whether we live in cities or regional towns, all Australians are sweltering through even hotter days and killer heatwaves.

“Australia must keep building out renewable energy to completely phase out pollution from coal, oil and gas and protect our families from unlivable temperatures. If we don’t take further steps now, some neighbourhoods and communities will become so hot people will struggle to live there. It’s not something that’s far off, it’s here now and it will define the coming decades.

“This map makes it clear that Australia’s pathway to cut climate pollution this decade will play a critical role in determining the future health and prosperity of entire communities across our country.”  

Head of Research at the Climate Council Dr Simon Bradshaw said: “This tool empowers Australians to see the real impacts of climate pollution in their own neighbourhoods.

“Choices being made this decade will dramatically affect the kind of community our children and grandchildren inherit. Cutting climate pollution further will limit the number of extremely hot days and the number of very warm nights we’re forced to endure, and ensure a better future for all Australians.”

Doctors for the Environment Australia executive director Dr Kate Wylie said: “Extreme heat is lethal. Dangerously hot temperatures put our health and wellbeing at serious risk, and threaten our families, community and animals. 

“As well as the risks of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in extreme conditions, we know that heat exposure increases the risks of many serious illnesses, such as heart and respiratory diseases, mental health presentations and premature births.

“Older adults, infants and young children, pregnant women, people with underlying health conditions and those living in vulnerable communities have a heightened risk of illness during heatwaves. But by embracing renewable energy and cutting climate pollution, we can shield our communities from the worst consequences of extreme heat and safeguard our future health.”

Key findings and local impact

Western Sydney / New South Wales

Darwin / Northern Territory

Perth / Western Australia

Melbourne / Victoria

Canberra / ACT

Brisbane / Queensland

Adelaide / South Australia

Hobart / Tasmania

For additional findings from the Heat Map and to organise interviews please contact George Hyde on 0431 330 919 or

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded 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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