Public cool rooms suggested for future heatwaves
COOL AUSSIES SHOULD BE PREPARING TO STAY COOL
COOLING rooms - airconditioned public centres where heat-stressed people can take refuge - may become necessary by 2050, when deaths from extreme heat events are likely to double today's toll.
The cooling room concept has been raised in a high-level report into Australia's preparations for a future, hotter era. It is one option for those whose lives may depend on respite from 45-degree temperatures.
Heatwaves kill more Australians than any other natural disaster and that is likely to get far worse, particularly for Melbourne and Brisbane due to their particular climatic conditions, says the report produced by respected firm Price Waterhouse Coopers in collaboration with government and meteorology experts.
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By 2050, the number of heatwave days could more than triple in Melbourne, but changes would have a minimal impact on Sydney because of its lower maximum temperatures.
The effect of extreme heat is likely to increase the death toll, particularly among elderly people, but also hit infrastructure, draining water and power supplies.
The report says extreme-heat-event deaths would account for an estimated 350 deaths in Melbourne and Brisbane, but about 80 in Sydney.
Mr Beale said 500,000 people lost power during the 2009 heatwave, schools and businesses were hit hard and public transport was disrupted.
He said Australia needed a ''national heatwave plan. The economic and social costs of extreme heat events are significant and potentially avoidable.''
According to Barnaby Joyce the Coalition "expert" on climate change, all we need do is pray for rain and we'll be alright?
THE FUTURE MAYBE????
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