A severe heat warning has been issued for large parts of the country over the next few days, contributing to dangerous fire conditions, as climate change continues to drive extreme temperatures.
A severe-to-extreme heatwave across every mainland state and territory is set to bring multiple consecutive days of 40-degree temperatures, with searing heat priming fire conditions.
“As a result of climate change, we are seeing heatwaves starting earlier in the season and they are becoming more frequent and even hotter,” said Climate Councillor and public health physician, Dr Kate Charlesworth.
“Heatwaves are a silent killer, leading to more deaths than all the other extreme weather events combined – including bushfires, cyclones, and floods,” said Dr Charlesworth.
“A year on from the horror that was the Black Summer bushfires, Australians know all too well the dangers associated with prolonged extreme heat,” said Climate Councillor, and climate change expert, Professor Will Steffen.
“2019 was the hottest and driest year on record for Australia, and the second hottest for the entire planet. Extreme heat and dry conditions are part of a long-term warming trend driven by climate change, which set the scene for what was to become the worst fire season Australia has ever experienced,” he said.
“Since 1960, the number of record hot days in Australia has doubled, and this increase is being driven by the burning of coal, oil and gas,” said Professor Steffen.
“To protect Australians we must rapidly and deeply reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and make the switch to renewable energy,” he said.
Please refer to the Climate Council’s guide to keeping yourself, and your loved ones safe during a heatwave here: https://climc.nl/heatwave
For interviews please contact Lisa Upton on 0438 972 260 or Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875.
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