Heatwaves - Our silent and most deadly natural disaster – AEF | Australian Energy Foundation

Heatwaves – Our silent and most deadly natural disaster

Our national average temperature set a new record on Wednesday at a high of 41.9C, surpassing the previous record by 1C set only 24hrs before. 

Heatwaves are our deadliest natural disaster, sadly killing thousands more people than bushfires or floods. 


Low income families and the elderly are often left vulnerable to this danger as their homes typically aren’t equipped with energy efficient air conditioners. With energy costs continually rising, cooling homes with outdated and inefficient appliances is a cost that these households can’t afford and they choose to go without and suffer the heat to save money. Unfortunately this can come at a more extreme cost. 

At home, people begin to endure heat-related symptoms including dehydration, cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Many pre-existing medical conditions are exacerbated in the extreme heat, making it difficult to diagnose exactly how the heat has impacted the death of an individual.  

This is the silent and deadly reality of the climate emergency. 

The vast majority of Australians understand the seriousness of the climate emergency and the need to take urgent action. However, inexplicably, Australia’s climate change policy is ranked as the worst of 57 countries. 

The Australian Energy Foundation, the nation’s leading energy organisation, works with local and state governments to drive and deliver many initiatives to tackle the climate emergency and to accelerate the transition to an equitable zero carbon society. 

They recently joined over 82 governments in declaring a climate emergency and they are encouraging other NGOs and businesses to declare too. 

Whilst action on climate change has always been at the heart of the organisation, it’s time to refocus our efforts in the context of the emergency to ensure that we restore a safe climate for our communities.” Alison Rowe, CEO of AEF said of their recent declaration. 

To support local governments who want to declare or who have declared, AEF have launched a nationwide program. The program provides councils with services such as local community engagement, understanding your impact on the climate, identifying local opportunities, building strategies and action plans and delivery of on-the-ground programs. 

The AEF also launched their energy advice services nationwide earlier this year, providing all Australians with free, independent energy advice and support throughout their transition to all electric homes. 

“We can reduce the impact of heatwaves, and the likelihood of their occurance if we act now on climate change. We are here to help accelerate action against this emergency.” Alison Rowe CEO. 

To see how AEF can help you develop your Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP), visit our Climate Emergency page.

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