National Party MPs represent five of the six federal electorates with the highest projected rise in average maximum temperatures due to runaway climate change, new analysis has found.
The National Party represents eight of the 20 federal electorates most at risk from temperature increases under runaway climate change, followed by Labor (five), the Liberal Party (five) and Katter’s Australian Party (one) and the radically redrawn seat of Canberra.
The analysis was carried out by the Australian National University (ANU) School of Design, using data from the Queensland Government’s LongPaddock project. The same ANU team previously developed the ‘climate coasters’ series, highlighting already rising temperatures across Australia.
As part of the ANU project, climate model projections for 2050 on temperature rises, seasonal changes, rainfall and heat extremes are compared against the historic 1960-90 baseline and visualised for federal electorates and more than 4000 locations across Australia.
The project uses the highest global emissions pathway modelled by scientists, which assumes global emissions continue to rise and accelerate.
The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said our democratic system was based on local representation. She said too many elected representatives were failing their local communities by failing to act on climate change.
“Climate change damage is already occurring across our communities. This summer we have seen a devastating drought, intense floods, bushfires in forests that used to be too wet to burn, and record-breaking heatwaves. How much worse this gets depends on how fast we act to stop climate pollution.
“The modelling projects dramatic changes to seasonal patterns for a large part of Australia, with current winter conditions disappearing, and much of the year dominated by traditional summer conditions, plus a new extreme summer.
“This project sets out what continued rising climate pollution means for communities, but it is a future we can avoid if the world rapidly stops burning coal, razing forests and driving dirty cars, among other things. Australia will have to do its fair share.
“It is disappointing that many of the federal electorates found to have the highest projected increases in average maximum temperatures are represented by MPs who do little to champion climate action, or worse, deny the established science.
“Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in particular would do well to stop dismissing established climate science and get on with better representing their communities by championing pollution cuts and programs to help them adapt to changes already in the system.
“Climate damage is not an academic exercise. Extreme weather events like heatwaves and bushfires are deadly. The elderly, young and sick are most at risk. And natural ecosystems and critical infrastructure are under threat.”
The project found:
- A general warming trend, with average maximum temperatures projected to rise significantly and numerous additional days over 30, 35 and 40 degrees.
- A radical reordering of seasonal patterns, with historic winter conditions largely disappearing, and summer conditions dominating more of the year and being joined by dangerous ‘new summer’ conditions.
- That several Cabinet Ministers represent some of the hardest hit electorates, including Agriculture Minister David Littleproud (second), Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (ninth), Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (sixteenth), Environment Minister Melissa Price (nineteenth) and Energy Minister Angus Taylor (twentieth). The Shadow Cabinet is represented by Immigration spokesperson Shayne Neumann (seventh) and Agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon (fifteenth).
The full list of the 20 hardest hit electorates and more details about the project is here.
The online search tool can be found at https://myclimate.acf.org.au/.