Australia’s record-breaking summer ravaged the nation with temperatures so high fruit was cooked on trees while bushfires and floods caused havoc.
A Climate Council report released on Thursday showed temperature extremes over the past three months, which was the hottest summer on record.
Port Augusta in South Australia reached a record breaking 49.5°C in January, while every state experienced serious bushfires and Townsville broke its 10-day accumulated rainfall total.
More than 200 extreme weather records were broken in 90 days across the nation.
Climate councillor and former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins urged the Federal Government to do more to combat climate change after the ‘‘angriest summer’’.
‘‘This extreme weather is becoming worse and worse. As a firefighter I’ve seen this develop over the last 50 years,’’ Mr Mullins said on Thursday.
‘‘We’re having longer, more severe bushfire seasons. We’re finding it harder to cope.’’
The Climate Council has been unimpressed with the Morrison Government’s recent announcements on climate change, including a $2billion commitment over 10 years to extend ‘direct action’ programs.
‘‘Mother Nature is trying to send us a message but it seems people in Canberra just won’t listen,’’ Mr Mullins said.
‘‘We need to drive down emissions now or we’re locking in centuries of dangerous climate change for future generations.’’
Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said Australia was living with a long-term warming trend driven by burning fossil fuels and land clearing.
‘‘This summer was so hot we witnessed fruit cooking on trees,’’ Ms McKenzie said.
‘‘In Melbourne, the Australian Tennis Open had to implement its new extreme-heat policy, postponing matches, as temperatures soared.’’
The Climate Council is arguing for a national policy to drive down greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors.
Mr Mullins said firefighters were struggling to cope with unprecedented lightning storms which have sparked blazes across the nation.
‘‘We’re seeing across Australia far longer fire seasons,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot more very high-to-extreme bushfire danger. Forests are burning where they shouldn’t burn.
‘‘We’re calling on the Federal Government to take real action on climate change.’’