THE RECORD HOT weather currently being experienced across the ACT and parts of NSW is now the new normal – the effects of climate change are becoming baked-in.
“It’s still spring and yet it feels like mid-summer. 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, Professor Will Steffen.
The Bureau of Meteorology has recorded early season maximum temperature records for several locations including Canberra, Goulburn and Wagga Wagga, with more hot weather expected over the weekend.
“Heatwaves have widespread impacts. They are sometimes referred to as ‘silent killers’ because they cause the greatest number of deaths of any type of natural disaster in Australia. They also damage ecosystems, agriculture and infrastructure. Our ageing, inefficient coal-fired power stations can’t cope with the heat either,” said Professor Steffen.
The current hot weather has prompted authorities to elevate fire danger ratings in parts of NSW and the ACT.
“Climate change is driving a long-term warming trend. Record hot days and heatwaves are already on the increase and are expected to increase even further,” said Professor Steffen.
“As temperatures rise, the recent vegetation growth from rains will dry out and add fuel load that could contribute to a potentially nasty bushfire season,” he said.
“Limiting the increase in heatwave activity requires us to urgently reduce our greenhouse gas pollution levels. The Federal government has no credible policy to reduce our emissions, which have been rising for the past three years. This needs to change immediately if we are to join the international effort to tackle climate change and avert its very worst impacts,” he said.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Will Steffen please call 0438 972 260.
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