Doctors demand that the federal government takes immediate action to protect Australians from the unprecedented risks to their health from climate change, in response to a major new report published today.
DEA spokesperson Dr Arnagretta Hunter says, “ This report is a wakeup call, and we urge all levels of Australian government to read and appreciate its findings.
“This week’s catastrophic fires along Australia’s east coast must be the defining moment when Australia stops looking the other way, and does its fair share of meeting the Paris Agreement targets to limit warming to well below 2˚C.
“The MJA-Lancet report rightly identifies the need for effective government policy to meet the adaptation challenges, especially to the healthcare system, from climate change.
The report also states government must better invest in mitigation across Australia, including rapidly moving away from coal-fired power which is a main driver of global heating.
“Doctors have been speaking out loud and clear about how climate change has been affecting Australians’ health and wellbeing - DEA
and the AMA
declared climate change a health emergency only this year - yet we’ve had little response from the federal government.
“We are the developed country most vulnerable to climate change effects in part because of our already warm climate.
“We see increasing heatwaves, an unusually severe bushfire season, droughts and extreme weather events all of which has been made more likely by the average increase in Australia’s summer temperature of 1.66 C over the past 20 years.
“Heat contributes to many hours of lost productive work and education. Heat increases likelihood of illness and death in people who are over 65 years of age. Heat is a serious health threat in Australia.
“As the report states, children are particularly susceptible to extreme weather and have many life years ahead of them. We must take serious action on climate change if we wish to ensure the health of any child born today.
“The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Climate Change and Health is an extraordinary collaboration of 35 global institutions.
“The health community will not be silent on the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. The level of concern among doctors is high, and DEA is running a petition
with medical doctors calling for Parliament to declare a climate emergency.
We urge the Government to heed the health voice and address the challenges posed by climate change.
Dr Hunter will be speaking at the MJA-Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: 2019 Report Launch in Canberra, ANU, Friday 15 November, 3.30 to 5pm.
ACT DEA Chair Dr Arnagretta Hunter
Hon Secretary Dr Richard Yin
Please contact DEA's Media and Communications Coordinator Carmela Ferraro on 0410 703 074 to arrange an interview
DEA is an independent organisation of medical doctors protecting health through care of the environment http://dea.org.au
We are supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee of distinguished health experts: Prof Stephen Boyden AM, Prof Emeritus Chris Burrell AO, Prof Colin Butler, Prof Peter Doherty AC, Prof Michael Kidd AM, Prof David de Kretser AC, Prof Stephen Leeder AO, Prof Ian Lowe AO, Prof Robyn McDermott, Prof Lidia Morawska, Prof Peter Newman AO, Prof Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC, Prof Hugh Possingham, Prof Lawrie Powell AC, Prof Fiona Stanley AC, Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, Dr Norman Swan