EXTREME HEAT- The full story from Ecoshock

Monday, 20 May 2024 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Dr Sarah Perkins-Fitzpatrick. Fenner School of Environment and Society ANU



Produced by Vivien Langford

MAY 20TH 2024

"O Artifical Saviour" Re- broadcast by permision of Radio EcoShock. You can tune in to Radio Ecoshock every Sunday 6am at 3CR or get it here: https://www.ecoshock.org/


Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick

In 2023, extreme heat waves rolled across Earth’s surface so fast and so long – who can remember? In some places heat up to 9 degrees C or 16 Fahrenheit hotter than normal.  Summer-level heat waves struck in winter, again in spring, followed by simply astounding heat on every continent but Australia.  Twenty twenty three wasn’t just the hottest year ever recorded.  It was a year when forests burned, cities cooked, and crops died.

Let’s patch together the heat headlines, including many you did not see.  Our guest Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick led an international team of scientists, publishing their global overview paper “Extreme terrestrial heat in 2023”.

Dr. Perkins-Kirkpatrick is with the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, in Canberra – and the ARC Centre of Excellence for 21st Century Weather at Australian National University.



Charles (“Chip”) Fletcher

“The climate crisis is now well underway”

That is according to a group of well-known scientists.  Their big picture overview was just published in a PNAS paper titled “Earth at risk: An urgent call to end the age of destruction and forge a just and sustainable future”.  Is it really that bad? Is there any way out of a hot-house disaster?

From the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, we have reached scientist and interim Dean, Dr. Charles Fletcher, often known as “Chip”.  

“Propelled by imperialism, extractive capitalism, and a surging population, we are speeding past Earth’s material limits, destroying critical ecosystems, and triggering irreversible changes in biophysical systems that underpin the Holocene climatic stability which fostered human civilization.”

– from “Earth at Risk” Abstract

As Canadian author Leslie A. Davidson said:  “We are not lost, we are going in the wrong direction.”  We know a lot of what to do about climate change, but we continue on the wrong path – toward a world 3 degrees C hotter or worse.  As the paper says: “Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions set a new record in 2023, rising an estimated 1.1%, the third annual increase in a row since the COVID-19 recession.”

Several co-authors of this “Earth at risk” paper will be familiar to Radio Ecoshock listeners as guests.  Beyond William Ripple, originator of the Second Scientists’ Warning, we find famous scientist  Michael Mann, science historian Naomi Oreskes, British climate advisor David King and one of my favorite experts on how heat kills, Camilo Mora from the University of Hawaii.

This team writes: “The authors of this review believe that humanity stands at an inflection point in human history that will determine many characteristics of future life on Earth.


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