The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has declared that climate change constitutes a health emergency.
In a statement released on Tuesday, 3 September, the AMA said climate change is a “health emergency, with clear scientific evidence indicating severe impacts for our patients and communities now and into the future.”
AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said that the evidence for climate change was irrefutable and that it was already having an effect on health outcomes.
“The scientific reality is that climate change affects health and wellbeing by increasing the situations in which infectious diseases can be transmitted, and through more extreme weather events, particularly heatwaves,” he said.
The AMA is calling on the Australian government to adopt mitigation targets within an Australian carbon budget, develop a National Strategy for Health and Climate Change, and promote an active transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Dr Bartone said climate change will make a number of injuries and illnesses worse, including vector-borne diseases, and injury and mortality from severe weather events.
The AMA joins the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association in making such a declaration.
The Strike For Climate rally takes place in capital cities on Friday, 20 September.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor