Temperatures nudging 50 degrees, bushfires ravaging rainforests and people at increased risk of cardiac arrests because of heatwaves – this is the new normal for Australia and it’s being driven by climate change.
The Climate Council’s latest report, Weather Gone Wild, has found climate change is increasing the frequency and/or severity of extreme weather and that Australians are suffering as a result.
“We are experiencing climate change right now across Australia, from flooding in Townsville to bushfires in Victoria and Tasmania,” Climate Council CEO, Amanda McKenzie, said.
Key findings from the report include:
- The past four years have been the four hottest on record for global surface temperature, continuing a long-term warming trend.
- All extreme weather events are being influenced by climate change, as they are occurring in an atmosphere that contains more energy than 50 years ago.
- Extreme weather events are very costly, with insurance companies in Australia paying out more than $1.2 billion dollars in claims last year.
“Climate change is also leading to more intense rainfall, increasing the risk of flash flooding events, like the one we’re seeing in Townsville. Greenhouse gas pollution is warming the climate system, increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere. This leads to heavier rainfall,” said the Climate Council’s Head of Research, Dr Martin Rice.
“We have the solutions at our disposal but there’s only a tiny window of opportunity left to tackle climate change,” he said.
Read the full report on the Climate Council website.