Heat policies, venue resilience and climate action will need to dramatically improve to protect the health of sports people, both at elite and community level, The Climate Institute concluded in its January 2015 report on sport and climate impacts.
“Climate change and extreme weather events threatens the viability of much of our sport as it’s currently played, either in the back yard, at local grounds, or in professional tournaments. Football, cricket, tennis, skiing and more are struggling to adapt to, or prepare for, the impacts of climate change,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.
“With greater warming, more extreme heat, changes in rainfall and more intense storms, there are questions about just how far we can push players in elite and local sport. Questions also grow about whether the way some of our sport is played, or watched, is safe or sustainable.”
“Elite venues are improving resilience but local clubs and facilities, the lifeblood of Australian sport, are struggling. As climate extremes multiply, sports will need to learn from policies evolving in other outdoor industries.”
Sport brings significant revenues to the Australian economy to the tune of $13 billion a year. But sporting events impacted by severe weather events are seeing significant drops in attendance and revenue. The 2014 Australian Open saw a loss of 12-15,000 spectators per day during particularly hot days.
“To protect what we can of the health of our sports, major changes will be needed in facilities, playing policies and climate action,” said Mr Connor.
The full report, infographics, and interviews and supporting statements by athletes and administrators can be found at www.climateinstitute.org.au/sport-and-climate.html.
Also, here’s a SlideShare presentation called Sport & Climate Impacts: How much heat can sport handle? from The Climate Institute