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Research finds Australian cricket not ready for challenges of climate change

Research finds Australian cricket not ready for challenges of climate change
December 30, 2019

New research by the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub has found that Australian cricket is already feeling the impact of climate change and extreme heat - increasing the risk of heat stress on players and the likelihood of match disruptions.

According to the new assessment of the impact and exposure of Australian cricket to global warming, the Boxing Day Test may have to be played at night or in cooler months like November and March as climate change worsens extreme heat.

The new report, Caught behind: Climate change, extreme heat and the Boxing Day Test, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), also finds climate change threats may soon represent ‘material financial issues’ for Cricket Australia and its directors, who could face liability under the Corporations Act for failing to adequately address and report these risks.

The analysis concludes:

• Australian cricket is already feeling the impact of climate change and extreme heat - increasing the risk of heat stress on players and the likelihood of match disruptions.
• Under current emissions scenarios, the number of extreme heat days in Melbourne during December is expected to increase significantly in the 2020s and beyond.
• Cricket authorities should give consideration to moving the Boxing Day Test to the shoulder months of November or March, or to making it a night time fixture, due to worsening extreme heat in December.

Paul Sinclair, Campaigns Director of the ACF advises “climate change is affecting cricket here and now. Already this season we’ve seen New South Wales and Queensland players competing at an SCG blanketed in hazardous bushfire smoke and a Perth Test impacted by extreme heat.

“All the science warns climate conditions are going to worsen further – unless strong action is taken to cut climate pollution from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

“Cricket depends on the weather like few other sports, with changes in rainfall and temperature affecting the movement of the ball and the condition of the pitch, often turning matches.

Sinclair highlighted that “cricketing authorities are yet to champion the national and international action needed to combat the root causes of climate change.

“Cricket Australia’s 2017-2022 strategy report and its 2018-19 annual report make no mention of climate change, environmental responsibility, the considerable air travel associated with the elite level of the game, or any attempts to improve the energy efficiency of cricketing premises.

“Cricket Australia’s major sponsor Alinta Energy and its parent company produce 11.3 million tonnes of climate pollution in Australia each year.

“Cricketers from grassroots clubs across the country to those in the national squad need Cricket Australia to speak up for climate solutions that match the scale of the problem facing the game we love.”

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.

Click here to read the full report: Caught behind: Climate change, extreme heat and the Boxing Day Test.

For more information on the The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub go to

Images: The cover of the Caught behind: Climate change, extreme heat and the Boxing Day Test report showing bushfire smoke blanketing the SCG as Stephen O'Keefe plays in the Sheffield Shield earlier this month (top, courtesy of Phil Hillyard/Newspix) and the Orange Cricket Ground (below, courtesy of Claudia Hiscox).

Related Articles

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21st December 2019 - Smoke from bushfires forces abandonment of Big Bash League match in Canberra

18th December 2019 - Toyota and Cricket Australia partner to help kit out girls’ cricket teams

15th December 2019 - Cricket welcomes Federal Government funding towards the WACA Ground

13th December 2019 - Cricket Victoria releases findings on player participation in All Abilities Cricket

3rd December 2019 - Cricket Australia refuses gambling sponsor for Big Bash League

15th November 2019 - Pakistan to again host Test cricket after 10 year gap

14th November 2019 - New Zealand Cricket facing ‘challenging year’ after 2018/19 financial loss

15th October 2019 - Cricket Australia makes commitment to Women’s T20 World Cup pay parity

10th September 2019 - New report highlights the impact of climate change on cricket

6th June 2019 - Tennis Australia commits to United Nations climate change action

16th May 2019 - University of Queensland predicts climate change could cause the extinction of 26 species

6th February 2019 - Climate change set to impact Australia’s summer sporting calendar

1st February 2015 - Report suggests elite and grassroots sport at risk from climate change

10th December 2014 - ACF welcomes land handover and new Olkola National Park

18th February 2014 - Climate change to impact ski resorts

30th November 2013 - Western Australian Conservation Centre re-named to honour former Environment and Conservation head

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