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Climate change has been formally declared a ‘health emergency’ by the Australian Medical Association.
The AMA joins other bodies including the British Medical Association, Doctors for the Environment Australia, and the American Medical Association, with its new position.
It announced the motion yesterday, saying climate change will ‘have the earliest and most severe health consequences on vulnerable populations around the world’.
“There is no doubt that climate change is a health emergency. The AMA accepts the scientific evidence on climate change and its impact on human health and human wellbeing,” said AMA president Tony Bartone.
“Climate change will cause higher mortality and morbidity from heat stress. Climate change will cause injury and mortality from increasingly severe weather events. Climate change will cause increases in the transmission of vector-borne diseases.
“Climate change will cause food insecurity resulting from declines in agricultural outputs. Climate change will cause a higher incidence of mental ill-health. These effects are already being observed internationally and in Australia.”
Promoting renewable energy
As a result of formally recognizing the impact of climate change on human health, the AMA says it will now call on the government, led by prime minister Scott Morrison, to promote an active transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
It always wants the government to adopt mitigation targets within an Australian carbon budget, and create a strategy to promote the health benefits of tackling climate change.
The AMA will assess new climate change science as it emerges, and will adopt its position to reflect the most recent evidence.