Australia | Health Minister urged to address climate change as major threat to health

via the Climate and Health Alliance

A report released today by the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) warns Australia will fail to fulfil its obligations under the Paris climate change agreement if the Federal Government continues to ignore the health risks associated with climate change.

Leading health and medical experts say successive Australian governments have overlooked the health implications of climate change, leaving Australians vulnerable and the health sector underprepared.

Nobel Laureate for Medicine Professor Peter Doherty says the inclusion of health in the Paris Agreement now obliges the federal Health Minister and Department to get involved with climate change mitigation policies, as world health agencies name climate change as the “greatest threat to global health of the 21st Century”.

A recent global survey shows Australia lags behind comparable countries like the USA and UK when it comes to addressing the health impacts of climate change.

Climate and health researcher and CAHA president Dr Liz Hanna said: “Deaths attributable to climate change are estimated at 250,000-400,000 globally each year already. Australia will be responsible for unnecessary deaths if it doesn’t take strong climate action now.”

In an Australian first, CAHA is leading a national discussion with 300 healthcare stakeholders, academics, researchers and interested parties regarding the urgent need for the Federal Government to develop and implement a national strategy for Climate, Health and Wellbeing for Australia to assist Australia is meeting its commitments to health.

The Climate and Health Alliance is calling on the federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley, to support the development of a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being.

CAHA urges its members, partners, and supporters, to share the news of this initiative via email, Facebook and Twitter.

For more information and to take action:

Join the conversation on Twitter: tag CAHA @healthy_climate and @ProfPCDoherty. Sample tweets:

  • A #climatehealthstrategy will help turn climate action into an opportunity for better health @sussanley
  • Heatwaves, floods & droughts affect thousands of Australians every year @sussanley we need a #climatehealthstrategy
  • #COP21 acknowledged public health relies on climate action – Australia must use a health lens on climate policy #climatehealthstrategy
  • Australia is falling behind the UK and US in addressing the health impacts of climate change #climatehealthstrategy

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