Dawson Climate Assessment: Heatwaves, Droughts, Floods and Fires to worsen

The electorate of Dawson could suffer devastating climate impacts unless emissions are cut, and climate change is brought under control.

The Australia Institute Climate Assessment for Dawson released today has found that, if emissions continue to rise, by 2070 the electorate of Dawson is projected to experience:

  • Up to more than twice as many heatwave days per year
  • A single heatwave could last up to over 70 days
  • A 90-130 percent increase in the frequency of droughts and flooding
  • Up to 25 percent increase in evaporation
  • Up to 50 percent reduction in rainfall
  • Increasing extreme fire weather

“The changes we are already experiencing including extreme temperatures, drought and unprecedented fires, are going to get far worse unless we succeed in tackling climate change,” says Mark Ogge, Principal Adviser on Climate and Energy at The Australia Institute.

“Climate change is by far the biggest threat to anyone living in the Dawson electorate— any policy makers who are not serious about tackling climate change are asleep at the wheel.

“The projected increase in heatwaves in Dawson is frightening. By 2070—well within our children’s lifetime—there are projected to be up to twice as many heatwaves every year, and they could last for up to around 70 days at a time.

“These changes will impact every aspect of our lives and the economy. Farming would be severely impacted, heat related illness and deaths would rise, anyone working outdoors or at indoor work places without air-conditioning will suffer

“Things we take for granted, like outdoor sports and kids activities, would become difficult and potentially dangerous for your health. 

“People in Dawson are already feeling the impacts, including the first ‘catastrophic level’ bush fire that raged in the Mackay region last year. It only adds to the devastation that the Federal Government is doing so little to address one of the key underlying causes: rising emissions which fuel climate change.

“Fortunately, this is not inevitable. We know that if we achieve the 1.5-degree Paris Target that almost every country in the world has agreed to, almost all of these impacts can be avoided. 

“The great thing is that the steps we need to take to meet this challenge would all be great for the region’s economy. Dawson has a competitive advantage with its great solar resources and huge opportunities for carbon farming that can provide additional income to farmers. But we need to act now.”

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