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Burden of disease to rise along with temperatures

Joint letter to Prime Minister outlines dire situation of climate crisis and says much more needs to be done. 

The AMA has written to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison as part of a coalition of climate concerned health organisations regarding the recent outcomes of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

The letter says to protect the health of all Australians, and ensure adaptation is embedded in Australia’s climate response, the Federal Government needs to:

  • Embed health into the National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy 2021 – 2025 with explicit financial and policy support for a resilient health system under future warming scenarios.
  • Ensure Australia’s 2022 Nationally Determined Contribution includes the strengthening of 2030 emissions reduction target.
  • Commit to further funding for loss and damage in the Pacific Islands to protect regional health system resilience It is critical Australia continues to step up its action on climate – the health of every Australian depends on it.

The letter states the burden of disease will increase as temperatures rise, placing greater pressure on the health system.

“Latest evidence indicates that even if countries fulfil all their commitments under the COP26 text, global land surface temperatures will exceed 2.4C by the end of the century.

“The economic value of avoided ill-health and associated productivity gains from doing so will also deliver considerable savings for health care and social service budgets.”

The joint letter congratulates the Federal Government’s commitment to a net zero emissions target by 2050 but says there is much more that needs to be done to ensure a low carbon and resilient health system in Australia and for our Pacific Island neighbours.

It says next year countries will be required to revisit and strengthen current emissions targets to 2030 as part of a revision of Nationally Determined Contributions.

“We urge the Australian Government to develop an ambitious national strategy that both mitigates Australia’s emissions, secures the health of the community, and builds resilient health systems.”

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