Health and medical groups in Australia have joined international colleagues in calling for health to be central to the international climate talks, saying “human health is profoundly threatened by our global failure to halt emissions growth and curb climate change.”
The Climate and Health Alliance, a national coalition of Australian health groups, along with its members the Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, Doctors Reform Society, Australian Association of Social Workers and the Australian Medical Students Association have signed the Doha Declaration for Climate, Health and Wellbeing.
The Doha Declaration calls for health to be central to climate action, and highlights the opportunities to improve health through emissions reductions – pointing out that reducing fossil fuel consumption and moving to low carbon energy systems can deliver many benefits to health worldwide.
“The impact of climate change on health is one of the most significant measures of harm associate with our warming planet,” the Declaration says. “Protecting health is therefore one of the most important motivations for climate action.”
The Declaration calls for: the health impacts of climate change to be taken into account nationally and internationally in developing climate policies;investment in climate mitigation and adaptation programs to protect and promote health to b significantly and rapidly increased; and the health sector to be engaged and included in designing and leading climate mitigation and adaptation worldwide.
International signatories to the Doha Declaration on Climate Health and Wellbeing include the World Medical Association, the International Council of Nurses, International Federation of Medical Students, Health Care Without Harm, European Public Health Association, Royal College of General Practitioners (UK), Climate and Health Council, OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate & Health Council, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, Umeå Center for Global Health Research, and many others.
“As representatives of health communities around the world, we argue that strategies to achieve rapid and sustained emissions reductions and protect health must be implemented in a time frame to avert further loss and damage,” the health and medical groups declare.
“We recognise that this will require exceptional courage and leadership from our political, business and civil society leaders, including the health sector; acceptance from the global community about the threats to health posed by our current path; and a willingness to act to realise the many benefits of creating low carbon, healthy, sustainable and resilient societies.”