Herbert Climate Assessment: Heatwaves, Droughts and Floods to worsen

The Australia Institute’s new Climate Assessment for Herbert has found the electorate could suffer devastating climate impacts unless emissions are cut and climate change is brought under control.

If emissions continue to rise, by 2070 the electorate of Herbert is projected to experience:

  • A single heatwave could last up to over 50 days
  • Up to twice as many heatwave days per year
  • A 90-130 percent increase in the frequency of droughts and flooding
  • Up to 30 percent increase in evaporation
  • Up to 50 percent reduction in rainfall
  • Coastal inundation affecting over 4000 properties in 23 suburbs (by 2100)

“People in this region know how devastating droughts and floods can be. This assessment shows they will become much more frequent and intense over coming decades unless emissions are reduced fast,” says Mark Ogge, Principal Adviser on Climate and Energy at The Australia Institute.

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

“The projected increase in heatwaves Herbert is frightening. By 2070, well within our children’s lifetime, there are projected to up to twice as many heatwaves every year, and they could last for up to around 50 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 indoor work places without air-conditioning will suffer. Even ordinary recreational activities like sport would become difficult, often dangerous and far less enjoyable.

“Many in Townsville are still piecing their lives back together following the recent disastrous flood, 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. Herbert has a competitive advantage with its great solar resource and huge opportunities for carbon farming that can provide additional income to farmers. But we need to act now.”