If emissions continue to accelerate, Western Sydney can expect to endure up to 46 days per year over 35℃ by 2090, A new analysisThe Australia Institute findings. This is fivefold more than the historical average, which was just under nine days of severe heat per year.
Western Sydney is home to 2.5 million people, is highly susceptible to extreme heat and is 8-10℃ hotterIt is much more pleasant than east Sydney in heatwaves. The region is too far inland for coastal breezes and lacks the altitude found in the Blue Mountains.
Penrith and the far inland suburbs are the hottest. Penrith was indeed the most popular place to be in early January 2020. The hottest spot on Earth, reaching a scorching high of 48.9℃.
However, extreme heat days are not likely to rise as fast as they have in the past. If global warming is limited to 1.5℃ this century, in line with the Paris Agreement, Western Sydney will have fewer than 17 days of 35℃ per year by 2090. Smart urban design and emission reduction are vital measures to protect Western Sydney’s residents from heat stress.
Heatwaves can be deadly
Heat is a big deal in Australia accounts for more deathsMore than all other natural catastrophes combined. If the power goes out, it’s much harder to mitigate the stress.
In January 2009, during the devastating heatwave that preceded the Black Saturday fires, Melbourne experienced a power outage on a 44℃ day, leaving Some 500,000 peopleIn the heat without electricity. Melbourne was cost an estimated $374 million by the heatwave, which killed 374 people. A$800 Million.
Heat can also affect worker productivity. According to the New South Wales Treasury, the state could suffer a loss of up to $2.5 billion by 2061. Every year, 2.7 million days of workDue to heat, workers are less productive in agriculture, construction and manufacturing.
NSW estimates that the loss of worker productivity could be as low as 700,000 days under a low emission pathway. While this is still significant, it’s a quarter of cases compared to a high-emissions future.
We used climate projections from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology to see how climate change would affect Western Sydney. We calculated temperature projections using a low-emissions scenario (where global warming is stopped at 1.5℃) and a high-emissions scenario (where global emissions continue unabated).
We examined 12 federal electorates in Western Sydney and found that Lindsay, which also includes Penrith will be the most affected. It can expect up to 58 days of 35℃ by 2090 under a high emissions scenario.
Who is affected?
Western Sydney is uniquely prone to the “urban heat island” effect. The heat from the concrete and lack of green space absorbs heat and amplifies it, causing dangerous temperatures.
Residents without affordable air conditioning, those with preexisting conditions, and those who work outside are most vulnerable to heat stress.
Sweltering Cities, an advocacy group for extreme heat, was our partner to help us understand the human impact of extreme temperatures. They conducted a survey of Western Sydney in 2020 and gathered insights from 682 people.
Gemma MacMillan, a single mother of a three year-old boy, lives in Ropes Cross in affordable housing. “In summer I have to keep my son Oliver inside as much as possible on hot days,” she says. “There’s no shade at all in my backyard.”
Gemma lived in a house with no ceiling fans or air conditioning for many years. “In the past we’ve gone to stay with my ex-partner’s mum who has an air con, but now we’ve broken up and I worry about my son when it’s really hot.”
Even though retired chemist Rafael Perez has air conditioning, he says: “you’ve got to think of the cost. I’m not in a position to have it on all the time so I turn it off as soon as I can.”
Despite having an average income of less than Western Sydney, Penrith residents pay on average You can save up to $100 per moisLiving closer to the coast will pay less in electricity bills.
Reflecting on his 22 years in the neighbourhood, Rafael says, “there used to be a lot more trees when I moved here, now there is a lot more concrete.”
What must change?
Reduced emissions are the difference between 1.5 months of extreme heat and 17 days per year in Western Sydney.
There is an appetite for change. For example, Pat Cummins was a well-known cricketer earlier this month. Launched Cricketers for ClimatePenrith has launched a movement to encourage Australian cricket clubs towards net-zero carbon emissions in the next ten years. The initiative highlights the threat to our ability play sports and positions athletes in support of climate action.
The upcoming federal election could also be a policy window to increase climate ambition. Western Sydney has many highly contested swing seats. According to the Sweltering Cities Survey, 92.5%Many residents of Western Sydney want policies on heat from politicians and political parties.
What are these policies? We must design our homes and cities to protect vulnerable residents at the local level. The NSW government recently announced that it was making a move to ban dark roofs. The ability to reflect heat from lighter roofs can reduce indoor temperatures. 10℃ during heatwaves.
Climate explained: How white roofs help reflect the sun’s heat
To make Western Sydney more safe, it is essential to increase green spaces, shade bus stops and parks, and to provide affordable air conditioning access.
The most important thing is to reduce emissions. Australia’s national target of a 26-28% emissions reduction from 2005 is Warming of 4 is consistent℃If all countries followed a similar path of ambition, Instead of New coal mines are being plannedNSW should accelerate its transition towards renewable energy.