31 March 2014
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), welcomes the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a call to action on climate change.
The IPCC Working Group II 5th Assessment Report released today provides the most comprehensive assessment to date on the impacts of climate change, including on human health.
DEA spokesperson, Dr Graeme Horton said, “The report confirms that climate change is already affecting human health in Australia and globally – and will increasingly do so unless we have urgent and effective action.”
“The latest IPCC report states that the observed impacts of climate change are widespread and consequential,” Dr Horton said
“Australian doctors are increasingly concerned about the health impacts of climate change.
“This month over 400 doctors and medical students attended a DEA conference to discuss the health impacts of climate change.
“Climate change is expected to further increase the likelihood of injury, illness and death due to more frequent and intense heat waves, fires and floods, and increase the risks from food-borne and water-borne diseases,” he said.
The report outlines that without a strong response climate-attributable cases of disease and injury will steadily increase.
“One of the most alarming findings from the IPCC report is that climate change is expected to cause increased likelihood of under-nutrition and growth stunting in children due to diminished food production in poor regions.
“By 2050 it is estimated that up to 25 million more children could be underweight due to the effects of climate change on crop production,” Dr Horton said.
“Failing to act on climate change could jeopardise the gains we have made in combating global poverty and hunger,” he said
The IPCC report also does bring some good news – that action on climate change can have significant, immediate benefits for health. It is estimated that air pollution contributes to 6.8 million premature deaths annually. Supporting cleaner energy sources and reducing our dependence on cars reduces air pollutants that are damaging to heath and the climate and improves heart and lung health and reduces risks of premature death.
Dr Merryn Redenbach M: 0407 825 046
Dr Graeme Horton M: 0439 540420