'Be alarmed': Every aspect of Aussie life disrupted by climate crisis

·News and Video Producer
·5-min read

Weekend sport, holidays and the morning commute will change for most Australians as the world warms due to climate change.

Smoke will choke our cities as intense fire events like Black Summer become more frequent, and heatwaves will make it difficult to work and affect cricket matches.

While the concept of climate change may still seem like an abstract idea for many, a new report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is “startling, sobering, confronting and deeply troubling,” according to Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter.

Life in Australia's cities will become disrupted by the climate crisis, Greenpeace warns. Source: Getty
Life in Australia's cities will become disrupted by the climate crisis, Greenpeace warns. Source: Getty

More on the IPCC report:

Disruption in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth

Noting the world must act immediately to slow global warming, Mr Ritter believes Australians have the "right to be angry" at their political leaders for not taking swifter action to "protect our way of life". 

He said the IPCC report puts the world on notice that all of our lives will be “directly disrupted” by climate change.

Source: Yahoo News
Source: Yahoo News

“Whether you live in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane or Perth, your life is going to be disrupted by the heat, the smoke, the storms, the torrential rain, and the inability to plan your future with confidence,” he told Yahoo News Australia.

“For all of us who just enjoy a decent life, this new report gives us a reason to be alarmed.”

Summer sports like cricket will be impacted by heatwaves and smoke as the climate crisis worsens. Source: AAP
Summer sports like cricket will be impacted by heatwaves and smoke as the climate crisis worsens. Source: AAP

Those with enough money to flee Australia by holidaying in Hawaii or Bali will likely not fair any better.

“Whether it's other holiday destinations in the Pacific, or in Southeast Asia, we can expect intolerable levels of heat,” Mr Ritter said.

“There's nowhere that is safe from extreme climate impacts. There are no parts of the world that will benefit from this."

Climate crisis impacting key Aussie tourist hotspots

For veteran tourism operator Tony Fontes the IPCC's report came as no surprise. He has seen the Great Barrier Reef's international reputation diminish after mass coral bleaching events.

Mr Fontes characterises the Reef as still the "best in the world", and due to its enormous size he has been able to move to new unaffected frontiers as the coral dies.

Sadly, he says, that can only go on for so long.

Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef will be impacted without tougher action to reduce global warming. Source: AAP
Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef will be impacted without tougher action to reduce global warming. Source: AAP

"You can only travel so far in a day, and if your near shore spots that you visit regularly disappear, then you just may find me having to move on and get another job somewhere else," he said.

"It's really hard to fathom that because when I first came to Australia back in 1979... and dove the Reef for the first time, some of the words in my head were: this is too big to fail."

"Of course that no longer rings true."

Climate may change the summer of cricket

  • In 2019, BBL cricket matches were cancelled due hazardous levels of bushfire smoke.

  • Boxing Day Test matches could be played at night or moved to a new date as summers get hotter, according to a Monash University report.

  • In 2018, temperatures hit 57 degrees at the SCG as England played Australia.

  • India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are all expected to be severely impacted by climate change. 

Construction and agriculture likely to suffer from climate crisis

Agricultural and construction workers are likely to be some of the worst affected as they will be unable to cool themselves with air conditioners as heat and smoke levels increase.

The elderly, children and those with compromised immune systems will be also be affected, according to Monash University's Professor Tony Capon who notes that heat waves already claim more lives in Australia than any other natural disaster.

Bushfire smoke in 2019/2020 alone is estimated to have contributed to the deaths of 400 people in Australia and triggered adverse health reactions in thousands of others.

Extreme heat and smoke will disrupt industries like agriculture and construction. Source: Getty
Extreme heat and smoke will disrupt industries like agriculture and construction. Source: Getty

In case that's not enough to worry about, as rainfall increases, infectious disease rates will also likely rise.

"Changing climates leads to changes in both temperatures, but also rainfall, and it's this combination that is leading to changing the abundance and distribution of mosquitoes that transmit infection between people," Professor Capon said. 

"In Australia, that's Dengue fever, for example, or Ross River fever.

"There's also another infectious disease aspect here, which is food borne diseases and these are directly related to the increasing temperatures."

Key reactions to the IPCC report

World leaders have reacted to the IPCC report which predicts longer droughts, and more severe floods and fires with alarm.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the report “code red for humanity,” adding that the “alarm bells are deafening".

“This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” he said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden tweeted that the world can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis.

“The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting,” he wrote.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the report a “wake up call” for the world to take action ahead of climate talks this year in Glasgow.

“We know what must be done to limit global warming – consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference today that he feels “deeply about this issue”.

The Coalition maintains technology and not taxes is the solution to fighting climate change, and have spotlighted the high emissions of developing countries including China, adding “coordinated global action” is needed to fight the problem.

“Unless we can get the change in the developing countries of the world, then what we’re seeing in these IPCC reports will occur,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

Prime Minister Morrison said “Australia is part of the solution” and singled out miners including Fortescue's Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, as well as BHP and Rio Tinto for their work combatting climate change.

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