Climate emergency must not be ignored

2 Aug 2021

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said the AMA was extremely disappointed the House Standing Committee on Environment and Energy has stated Australia’s current approach to reducing emissions is adequate and has recommended against passing new proposed climate change bills.

What is the issue?

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, outlines the significantly greater health impacts of 2°C warming, compared to 1.5°C. Higher deaths from extreme heat, a wider spread of vector-borne disease, and increased mortality from poor air quality are all predicted at warming greater than 1.5°C.

“More generally, climate change is predicted to cause increases in food and water borne disease, airborne allergens, respiratory illnesses and mental ill-health,” Dr Khorshid said.

“Australians are now experiencing the consequences of climate change. For example, the horrific bushfire season of 2019-20 and the intense and prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke. Australians deserve and need a better and more ambitious commitment than the one currently on offer. The AMA would like to see these bills debated in parliament and passed into law,” Dr Khorshid said.

What needs to happen?

Dr Khorshid said the proposed legislation, introduced to the House of Representatives last year by Independent MP Zali Steggall, outlined a sensible and well-structured response to the existential threat posed by climate change and included a clear plan for reaching net zero by 2050.

"The AMA supports the climate change bills, based on the evidence that emissions need to reach net zero by at least 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

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