SPOKES AVAILABLE: Second hottest year on record
2020 the second hottest year on record: Interviews available
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has just released data showing that 2020 now ranks as the second-hottest year on record, with average temperatures hitting 58.77 degrees Fahrenheit — a mere 0.04 degrees cooler than 2016, which holds the record. This is despite a cooling La Niña in 2020.
The following people on the frontlines of worsening extreme heat in Australia are available to talk about the impacts of rising temperatures and scorching weather on their lives, livelihoods, communities, and the health of Australians and the Great Barrier Reef.
For interviews, contact Vai on 0452 290 082 or Lara on 0431 050 768.
RESIDENTS OF HEAT-PRONE COMMUNITIES
Ian Epondulan, Resident of Blacktown, Healthcare worker, can talk about how he was unable to get to work on time for a few days last summer, when the extreme heat caused train delays and cancellations. He can also talk about how his family avoids using the air-conditioning to avoid huge electricity bills, and goes to the 24hr Kmart in Blacktown to cool off instead.
Peter Moriarty, member of the Social Justice Commission of Holy Spirit Parish in St Clair, near Penrith, can talk about how his parish has tried to cope with the rising heat by fundraising to put solar and air conditioning on the parish, to provide refuge for the community on hot summer days.
Annaliese Alexander, Liverpool resident and mum of three, can talk about how her children’s school in Liverpool has no choice but to keep the air-con on all day during summer, and how this results in sky-high energy use. She can talk about how her family copes on scorching hot days, and why funding for solar panels on every school in Australia, would help protect kids from the heat.
Trudi Beck, Wagga resident and doctor, can talk about how her family and young children cope with the heat on days during weeks when temperatures hover at 40°C and above for days in a row, and her concerns for the health of her family and community.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEADERS
Brad Pettitt, Mayor, Fremantle, WA can talk about the impact of back-to-back hot years on the city’s landscape, infrastructure and communities and how local councils like Fremantle are helping keep their residents cool while working to reduce their carbon footprint.
Phil Bradley, Councillor, Parramatta City Council can talk about how his community suffers through relentless heat and many residents struggle to afford to run air conditioning. He wants to see more support for the community to retrofit their homes and access cheap, clean and reliable energy from the sun.
Mark Greenhill, Mayor, Blue Mountains City Council can talk about how extreme heat days are impacting towns like Blaxland in the Blue Mountains. Blaxland is just up the road from Penrith and also experiences record tumbling temperatures. He wants urgent action to protect residents from the heat and build community resilience.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Dr Scott F. Heron, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, can talk about the vulnerability and stability of the Great Barrier Reef. He has expertise in what's happening to coral at a surface level and deep underwater, and can provide an expert overview of how Australia has been performing protecting the GBR, as well as the impacts of coral bleaching and future health of the reef. Location: Townsville, QLD
Tony Fontes, Whitdays Conservation Council spokesperson and dive instructor, Airlie Beach, can talk about the impacts of extreme heat and coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays tourism industry. Location: Whitsundays
Jody Brown, grazier, Longreach, Queensland can talk about how more frequent and extreme heat waves in Western Queensland are increasing evaporation, drying soil and making it more difficult to feed cattle.
Dale Park, cattle farmer, Badgingarra, WA can talk about how rising temperatures and other impacts of climate change are making it more difficult to farm in WA. Decreasing winter rainfalls are making it more difficult to grow grass and hotter summers mean farmers need to pump more water for cattle to drink.
Robert Quirk, sugar cane farmer, Tweed Valley, NSW can talk about how climate change is driving sea level rises and more extreme weather, threatening his coastal property with flooding. He lost 30 per cent of his cane in the recent floods.
Fergus O’Connor, cattle farmer, Gippsland, Victoria can talk about how rain on his property is becoming less reliable, forcing him to rely more heavily on hay and silage to feed his cattle.
Doctors from across the country can talk about the dangers of extreme heat, identify which age groups / pre-existing conditions / medications exacerbate vulnerability to heat stress, symptoms of heat stress, and precautions to take to stay safe.
Dr Trudi Beck, GP and Doctors for the Environment Australia member. (Location: Wagga)
Dr Bob Vickers, GP and Doctors for the Environment Australia member. (Location: Singleton )
Dr Arnagretta Hunter, Cardiologist and public health expert
Dr Kimberly Humphrey, Emergency medicine specialist and SA Chair, Doctors for the Environment Australia (Adelaide)
Dr David King, GP and QLD representative, Doctors for the Environment Australia (Brisbane)
Dr Simon Quilty, medical specialist in Aboriginal, remote, and tropical health (Location: Alice Springs)