Climate change will turn up heat on sport schedules, report warns

Lachlan Roberts 23 October 2019 15
Tennis court

The report said all sports, but especially summer sports, will be affected by climate change. Photo: File.

Climate change will create a scheduling nightmare for sports across the territory according to a new report by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, which warns that elite and amateur athletes will suffer as temperatures are set to soar.

The report says there is no Canberra-specific sport and active recreation strategy beyond 2020 that can meet the challenges of climate change, as scientists expect an increase of hotter days, extreme heatwaves and higher minimum temperatures.

“Few, if any, sports are insulated against the accelerating consequences of climate change,” the report reads. “No participants will be immune from the consequences of climate change.

“Understanding heat exposure as a genuine health threat and sporting challenge, and reducing exposure will become a critical challenge as the ACT experiences more frequent, and more intense heatwaves.”

The report’s co-author Professor Kate Auty said climate change will affect every single sport in years to come, warning that sports organisers could soon be forced to schedule summer sports during autumn or spring due to the heat, which will cause a “crush effect” on the sports calendar.

“Even indoor sports will feel the pressure because the minute people can’t use the oval, they will be looking for indoor facilities,” Professor Auty told Region Media. “Scheduling struck me as a critical issue in the report.

“I know a lot of women who play sport and I think there is a potential that women will find themselves bumped for men’s sport which is something we need to make sure does not happen.”

Professor Auty said elite athletes are already experiencing climate change challenges, competing under the burden of expectation that they will push through environmental barriers and extreme heat to still compete.

The report said that duty-of-care thresholds vary across sports, ranging from 32°C to 41°C, and even Sports Medicine Australia’s heat policy has some “serious limitations” in the current environment, including sun exposure.

Professor Auty said the potential for costly legal action due to climate change injuries is real and the cases for climate change litigation are increasing.

“Provision of water and shade during or after the heat or extreme event will arguably not provide a defence to potential litigation, particularly if the athletes are young and vulnerable,” she said. “In the absence of highly effective monitoring, sport organisations and administrators should adopt a cautious approach.

“Climate change and other environmental factors are starting to challenge the established rules in sport and in law.

“Sport administrators, often volunteers, need to be equipped to deal with these changing environmental conditions. A robust and coordinated response across the sport sector is increasingly necessary.”

Read the full report here.

Impact of heat on sport

Sport across the nation will be forced to cancel or postpone their events. Graph: Australia Institute.

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15 Responses to Climate change will turn up heat on sport schedules, report warns
Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:30 pm 23 Oct 19

Climate change is becoming an incubator for a lot of opportunity spin-off industries. Reminds me of the “Year 2000 predictions” scare.

    switch switch 12:23 pm 24 Oct 19

    Y2K had a well-defined use-by date.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:02 pm 25 Oct 19

    Climate change doomsayers has predicted numerous dates for calamitous events to take place. None of them have eventuated.

Stephen Saunders Stephen Saunders 4:13 pm 23 Oct 19

If one applies the warped logic of a certain Dep Sec in Environment, there might be good news of a longer baseball season in the Yukon.

Natalie Grey Natalie Grey 2:00 pm 23 Oct 19

Yet the hottest Canberra day on record was more than 40 years ago...

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 4:10 pm 23 Oct 19

    Natalie Grey and 30,000 years ago we were under ice, and 5 billions years ago the planet was molten lava.

    Yet here are all these experts with recorded evidence of global trends. #yetcanberrashottestdaywas40yearsago

    Mal Briggs Mal Briggs 4:19 pm 23 Oct 19

    Natalie Grey anomalies and trends are very different things.

    You are either trying to confuse the issue, or you don't understand it enough to comment.

Lauren Ellen Lauren Ellen 1:22 pm 23 Oct 19

And yet, somehow, the rest of Australia (which gets far hotter and longer summers already) seems to manage. But how Canberra will cope is a mystery.

    Annie Mills Annie Mills 4:09 pm 26 Oct 19

    Lauren Ellen I am sure you will be able to find any other state’s strategy for recreational activities.

M.J. Leonard M.J. Leonard 1:09 pm 23 Oct 19

So basically sports administrators should not schedule events in extremely hot weather. Just out of interest, how much did it cost to produce this report?

    Jeff Knight Jeff Knight 1:49 pm 23 Oct 19

    Martin Leonard it doesn’t matter how much, just know that your ‘rates’ are hard at work 😂😂😂

    M.J. Leonard M.J. Leonard 1:53 pm 23 Oct 19

    Jay Kay I suspect this report is about as useful as those produced by the ACT Human Rights Commissioner.

    Chris Cummins Chris Cummins 7:25 pm 23 Oct 19

    Martin Leonard about half as much as the ACCC’s 86 page report that filling up at cheaper petrol sites saves you money

Greg Battye Greg Battye 1:09 pm 23 Oct 19

OMG I knew the rainforests were being destroyed and thousands of species of important animals are becoming extinct and our rivers have dried up, but I didn't know the sports schedules will be negatively affected!! THIS IS TERRIBLE, SOMEONE DO SOMETHING

David McClenaghan David McClenaghan 12:53 pm 23 Oct 19

Like that’s a priority with global warming 🤣 seriously !!!

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