Climate change will affect vulnerable people’s health most: Academy

April 30, 2015

The elderly, the sick, the very young and disadvantaged Australians are most likely to suffer health problems as the climate changes, according to a new report released today by the Australian Academy of Science.

Climate Change Challenges to Health: Risks and Opportunities has been endorsed by the Australian Medical Association. It examines the five major pressures on health that Australia will face as global temperatures rise and climates change. They include the health impacts of extreme weather events, changing patterns of disease, disruptions to food and water supplies, loss of livelihoods and increased threats to security.

The report found that these will exert the highest pressure on those people who are already the most vulnerable.

The report makes eight high-level recommendations for Australia to alleviate these impacts and better adapt to a changing climate. They include:

  • measures to identify those most at risk and create programs and early warning systems to prevent adverse health impacts for the sick, the elderly, the poor, and people living in remote communities
  • better national coordination of adaptation strategies through a new National Centre for Disease Control and a new National Food and Water Commission
  • encouraging individuals and organisations to take early action to help those affected in their communities.

The report and its 22 detailed recommendations are based on discussions between world experts and 60 early- and mid-career researchers at a Think Tank convened by the Academy with support from the Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund in Brisbane last year.

Read Climate Change Challenges to Health: Risks and Opportunities

Photo Credit: Neil O’Connor

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