February 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm #5024
Abbott government urged to better articulate dangers of climate change as Climate Council highlights rising number of hot days
The government has been urged to better articulate the dangers of climate change after a report that shows the frequency of heatwaves in parts of Australia has already surpassed levels previously predicted for 2030.
The Climate Council report highlights that Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra all experienced a higher average number of hot days between 2000 and 2009 than was expected to occur by 2030.
Research by the CSIRO forecast that Melbourne would experience an average of 12 days over 35C each year from 2030, but the average over the past decade was 12.6 days.
Adelaide experienced an average of 25.1 days a year over 35C in this time, while Canberra surpassed this mark an average of 9.4 days.
The annual number of record hot days across Australia has more than doubled since 1950, according to the Climate Council report, with the south-east of the country at particular risk from more frequent heatwaves, drought and bushfires.
Last month’s heatwave, which enveloped much of Victoria and South Australia, caused 203 heat-related deaths in Victoria alone, according to the report.
Tim Flannery, of the Climate Council, told Guardian Australia that heatwaves were the “most dangerous natural hazards in Australia”.
“They kill hundreds of people and the fact they are accelerating beyond the predicted trends is a concern,” he said. “Heatwaves are coming earlier, they are lasting longer and they are hotter. They build up for days and before you know it, elderly people, infants and the homeless are in danger.”
On Monday, Tony Abbott dismissed talk of a link between climate change and drought, saying there “have always been tough times and lush times”. Last year he played down the connection between climate change and bushfire.
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