CLIMATE CHANGE made Australia's warmest winter on record an astounding 60 times more likely, according to a new report released by the Climate Council.
The "Hot & Dry: Australia's Weird Winter," report shows the nation experienced its warmest winter on record (for average maximum temperatures), while more than 260 heat and low rainfall records were also broken throughout the season.
Climate Councillor and ecologist, Professor Lesley Hughes said Australia's hottest winter in history was related to worsening climate change.
"Without any meaningful action to tackle climate change, we will continue to see many more hot winters, just like this, as global temperatures rise," she said.
"We must take meaningful action to strongly reduce Australia's emissions from fossil fuels.
"The current situation in which the government continues to not only delay real action to reduce emissions, but is actively supporting further development of coal-fired power is simply nonsensical."
KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:
- Australia had its warmest winter on record, in terms of average maximum temperatures, reaching nearly 2ºC above average.
- More than 260 heat and low rainfall records were broken during the winter months.
- The nation experienced its second driest June on record and the driest winter since 2002.
- The exceptionally warm and dry winter was made 60 times more likely by climate change.
- Australia's average winter temperatures have increased by around 1ºC since 1910, driven by climate change, as a direct result of burning fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas.
- Winter warm spells are lasting longer, occurring more often and becoming more intense.
The report also highlights that this hot and dry winter has led to an even earlier start to the bushfire season.
"A hot and dry winter such as the one we have just experienced has set the scene for dangerous bushfire conditions for many parts of Australia, especially in the southern states."
Professor Hughes said Australians have waited long enough for the Federal Government to get on with the job of tackling climate change.
"The Federal Government must end the climate and energy policy deadlock and continue the transition away from polluting and expensive fossil fuels.
"The solution remains the same - clean, efficient and affordable renewable energy and storage technology."