A new report brings together for the first time the expertise of climate scientists and sports physiologists to explore what climate change is doing to the sport of cricket.
Climate change is drying out cricket grounds, making players more vulnerable to heat stress and increasing the likelihood of match disruptions from extreme weather – and governing bodies need to do more to address the problem.
As Australia celebrates the Ashes victory, a new report, Hit for Six, released today in England, brings together for the first time the expertise of climate scientists and sports physiologists to explore what climate change is doing to the sport of cricket.
The report says while summers in Australia have always been warm, eight out of the ten hottest years in Australia’s history have been since 2005, and if global warming is allowed to continue at its current rate Adelaide and Perth will have a 60 per cent increase in days over 40°C in 2030 (compared to the 1981–2010 average).
In February 2019, Cricket Australia ordered games at its under-15 National Championships to be shortened due to the intense heat, acknowledging that teenagers were particularly susceptible to heat stress due to their inability to regulate body temperature as well as adults.
“Cricket is at risk of being bowled over by climate change,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Director of Campaigns and President of Youlden Parkville Cricket Club, Dr Paul Sinclair.
“Climate change means more games postponed, an increased likelihood of heat stroke and poorer performance due to heat-affected cognitive deterioration.
“Cricket Australia can lead the appeal for national and global action to cut climate pollution to zero and protect cricketers by joining the UN’s Sport for Climate Action Initiative.
“Grassroots players and supporters need Cricket Australia to go into bat for action to fix the root causes of climate change. That means knocking fossil fuels out of the park and pushing clean energy to the top of the batting order.
“Community sporting clubs already improve the health of millions of Australians every day. By speaking up they can be a powerful force for climate action that protects the sports we love and the health of our country.”
Youlden Parkville Cricket Club, in Melbourne’s inner north, has become the first cricket organisation in the world to sign up to the join the UN’s Sport for Climate Action Initiative.
Header pic by Glazzie Bush Pastor