Queensland facing more climate chaos

New research shows that Queensland is set to experience more climate chaos, including more summers with a dramatic increase in extreme heat days – like in Brisbane, where days over 35C would go from a historical average of two per year, to up to 45 days per year by 2090.

The report, written by The Australia Institute using CRSIO and BoM data, shows that such increases in extreme heat days will severely affect many key metropolitan and regional centres throughout Queensland such as Brisbane, Townsville, Rockhampton, the Sunshine Coast and the Whitsundays.

Key Points:

  • Rockhampton will see 121 days per year over 35 degrees by 2090 under current government policies.
  • The number of days over 40 degrees in Roma is expected to increase to up to 84 days per year by 2090 under a business as usual scenario.
  • Townsville nights over 25 degrees are expected to increase to 197 nights per year by 2090.
  • Major heatwaves like these have been dubbed the ‘silent killer’ — causing more deaths in the last century than all natural disasters put together in Australia.

“If emissions continue to rise, it will have a devastating impact for all Queenslanders,” says Richie Merzian, Director of The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

“Towns like Roma could experience up to 185 days over 35 degrees within our children’s lifetimes, severely impacting their lives and livelihoods.

“Extreme heat days could jeopardise many of Queensland’s major industries like tourism, agriculture, and mining, where it is unsafe to work in such extreme temperatures.

“Queensland is by far the most vulnerable state to natural disasters, with total economic costs of $6.2 billion per year currently which are expected to rise to $18.3 billion per year by 2050.

“At a state level, the Queensland government has shown initiative in organising the inaugural Climate Week QLD and in encouraging renewables investment through a 50% target by 2030 but if Queensland policy makers are serious about averting the impacts of extreme heat and climate change, a lot more is required.

“Rising extreme heat is not inevitable, our analysis shows that if Australia cuts its emissions, much of these impacts can be avoided.”

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