The fragility of existence

Fiona Colin, Melbourne, Apr 12, 2024

Peter Sainsbury (Environment: Australia publishes its first Climate Risk Assessment, 7/4) once again challenges us to look climate change in the face. Australia is vulnerable in many ways, not least to high temperatures and heat waves. According to the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience reports In Australia, “heatwaves are more deadly than any other natural hazard and predicted to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change”. The Lancet medical journal last year reported that heat-related illnesses and deaths “are rising as the world warms, and forecasts “a 370% surge in yearly heat deaths by mid-century if the world warms by 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels”.

Australian Doctors for the Environment has long advocated for stronger climate policies, due to the effects of heat, particularly on vulnerable people: babies and children, older adults, outdoor workers and those without effective cooling in their homes.

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