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AMA DECLARES CLIMATE CHANGE A HEALTH EMERGENCY

September 03, 2019

The Australian Medical Association has formally declared climate change a health emergency, pointing to “clear scientific evidence indicating severe impacts for our patients and communities now and into the future”.

Climate change and health challenges are intrinsically linked; the World Health Organisation has described climate change as “the defining health challenge of the 21st century”.

Australia’s health experts have already estimated that:

  • Heatwaves in Victoria in 2009 and 2014 contributed to 374 and 167 excess deaths respectively;
  • Climate change is increasing the likelihood of events such as the 2016 thunderstorm asthma event in Victoria, which caused a 3,000 per cent increase in asthma related admissions to intensive care; and
  • Reduced productivity due to extreme heat already costs the Australian economy over $8 billion annually and the economic losses and health risks will increase significantly as climate change impacts worsen.

This is why Labor took to the election a plan to develop Australia’s first National Strategy on Climate Change and Health.

Yet the Morrison Government remain committed to ignoring growing calls for real action on climate change. They have no plan to cut emissions, no plan to adapt to climate impacts and no plan to safeguard Australians health.

Just this past Friday the Government’s own latest emissions data showed in the year to March 2019 Australia’s carbon emissions rose 0.6 per cent.

Australians have come to expect this from a Government that is not serious on taking real action on climate change. The Liberals record on climate speaks for itself:

  • Carbon emissions have been continuously rising since 2014.
  • Government projections show the Liberals will miss the 2020 Kyoto commitment of a 5 per cent cut on 2000 levels.
  • Government projections also show emissions will keep rising all the way to 2030 – missing their already inadequate 2030 target by a huge margin.

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