The health community in Australia is calling for strong action on climate change as the prescription for political parties looking for a winning formula in the federal election on September 7.
The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), a national coalition of health groups, representing over 300,000 doctors, nurses, midwives, social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, allied health professionals and health care consumers, has launched its policy platform this week, outlining the priorities of health groups for effective climate action to protect health.
Leading experts such as Professor Tony McMichael from Australian National University have joined the call, saying climate change should be the key health issue in this election.
‘Climate change and its threats to human health, survival and social stability should be at the top of the election agenda,’ Professor McMichael, a population health specialist, said. ‘Further, Australia has responsibilities not only for its own population, but for vulnerable communities elsewhere.’
Emissions reduction targets of 50 per cent by 2020, alongside the now strengthening commitments of other emitting nations, are needed to reduce the profound risks to health from climate change, the Climate and Health Alliance said, along with a national strategy on climate and health.
CAHA President Dr Liz Hanna said: ‘The health sector is already under pressure, and increasing heat waves, fires, floods and storms will place even greater demand on frontline and community health services as people struggle with associated injuries, illnesses and trauma. The long recovery period from these events is often underestimated, as the toll upon human health and local economies lingers for years.’
The Climate and Health Alliance is calling for Australia to commit to the major emissions reductions now urgently required by developed nations in order to avoid the globally agreed ‘safe’ maximum of a two degrees Celsius increase.
For more information about the Climate and Health Alliance federal election 2013 policy platform, visit http://caha.org.au/campaigns/federal-election-2013/