Labor has today called on the Abbott Government to plan for the impacts of climate change on human health.
It follows the release of a report from the Australian Academy of Science, Climate change challenges to health: Risks and opportunities. Launched by the Australian Medical Association, it warns that climate change will result in:
- Extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts, storms, cyclones and floods which will have a profound impact on the mental wellbeing of many people, especially in rural areas.
- The spread and increase in incidence of diseases including those for which there is no treatment or immunity.
- Disruptions to food and water supply, with reduced rainfall having an enormous impact on the Murray-Darling Basin, which may become more susceptible to crop disease and reduced water volume.
- The most vulnerable members of society - in particular the sick, the elderly, the very young and the very poor - bearing the brunt of the worst effects of climate change.
The report recommends that Australia act by reversing downward trends in public investment in agricultural research and development, improving measures to identify those most at risk and cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.
The report has inspired Australia’s peak medical and science organisations to join forces in their call for urgent action and planning to respond to this growing threat.
The AMA’s President, Associate Professor Owler, has said that the report should be a catalyst for the Government to show leadership on climate change in the months leading up to this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
This will require a big change from the Government, which has dedicated its first eighteen months to dismantling Labor programs which addressed climate change.
Tony Abbott is dishing out billions in tax payers' money to big polluters, has ruined Australia's renewable energy industry and removed Australia's legal cap on carbon pollution. His polluters’ slush fund has been widely criticised by experts since the release of the first auction results, with analysts predicting the scheme will fall well short of its targets and will not meet Australia’s obligations to reduce its carbon pollution.
The Abbott Government must take this report seriously, address how it will protect those people whose health is most threatened and reconsider its negligent handling of climate change policy.