AMA calls for Australian leadership to address the global health impacts of climate change
The AMA has released an updated Position Statement on Climate Change and Human Health (Revised 2015). The updated Position Statement takes account of the most recent scientific evidence, and focuses on the health impacts of climate change, and the need for Australia to plan for the major impacts, which includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The AMA believes that the Australian government must show leadership on addressing climate change and is urging the Government to go to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December in Paris with emission reduction targets that represent Australia’s fair share of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The AMA Position Statement on Climate Change and Human Health (Revised 2015) states that:
- Australia should adopt mitigation targets within an Australian carbon budget that represents Australia’s fair share of global greenhouse gas emissions, under the principle of common but differential responsibilities.
- Renewable energy presents relative benefits compared to fossil fuels with regard to air pollution and health. Therefore, active transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources should be considered.
- Decarbonisation of the economy can potentially result in unemployment and subsequent adverse health impacts. The transition of workers displaced from carbon intensive industries must be effectively managed.
- Regional and national collaboration across all sectors, including a comprehensive and broad-reaching adaptation plan is necessary to reduce the health impacts of climate change. This requires a National Strategy for Health and Climate Change.
- There should be greater education and awareness of the health impacts of climate change, and the public health benefits of mitigation and adaptation.
- Climate policies can have public health benefits beyond their intended impact on the climate. These health benefits should be promoted as a public health opportunity, with significant potential to offset some costs associated with addressing climate change.