Oxfam puts Abbott on the spot for climate figures

OXFAM Australia is putting the Australian Government in the hot seat after 2014 was announced the hottest year globally on record.

The group's climate change advocacy coordinator, Dr Simon Bradshaw, said this meant 14 of the 15 hottest years on record had all occurred since 2000.

"China, the US and the EU - the world's three largest economies - have already made commitments towards reducing their emissions for the post-2020 period," he said.

"Now it's Australia's turn. This includes adapting to the impacts that can no longer be avoided, as well as building resilient low-carbon economies.

"We've been confronted by another harrowing bushfire season, which are becoming worse as hot days become hotter, heat waves become longer and more frequent, and parts of Australia becomes drier."

The Climate Council's Professor Will Steffen said 2014 was the 38th consecutive year with above average global temperatures.

"The record global warmth of 2014 is part of a long-term trend," he said.

"The Earth is getting hotter.

"The long-term warming trend has been driven by the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels."

Prof Steffen warned carbon emissions must be cut rapidly and deeply.

"2015 is the pivotal year to join global efforts in the lead up to the international climate negotiations in Paris to stabilise the world's climate and reduce the risk of more extreme weather events," he said.

Dr Liz Hanna, from the Australian National University and the Climate and Health Alliance, said if the warming trend continued, pressure on emergency and health services would increase.

A Macquarie University study based on PerilAUS - Risk Frontiers' database of natural hazard event impacts and published in October 2014 found since 1900 extreme heat events had been responsible for 4555 deaths - more than the combined total of deaths from all other natural hazards. - APN NEWSDESK


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