5 Out of 5 Doctors Agree

Australia’s leading medical association joined other global physicians in declaring “a health emergency” posed by the climate crisis

September 6, 2019

10:27 am

If the climate crisis poses existential threats to humanity, including the survival of the species, wouldn’t it go without saying, then, that climate change is not good for, er, your health?

The world’s leading medical associations think so, the latest being the Australian Medical Association (AMA), which on Tuesday declared that climate change posed “a health emergency.”

As reported by the newspaper The Australian, the AMA filed a motion that said “climate change was real” and would “have the earliest and most severe health consequences on vulnerable populations around the world.”

AMA President Tony Bartone went further, according to The Australian, saying “climate change would cause higher mortality and morbidity from heat stress, severe weather events, and food insecurity.”

The AMA joins other global physicians’ associations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association, and Doctors for the Environment Australia, which earlier tied good health to a good environment — and an unhealthy environment to poor health.

As noted by the Guardian, in 2015, WHO recognized “that climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century, and argued the scientific evidence for that assessment is ‘overwhelming’.”

A coalition of more than 100 American medical associations issued a similar “Call To Action” this past June, in which they noted the disproportionate impact that an unhealthy environment can have on the very young, the very old, and communities of color.

“Equity must be central to climate action,” the Call to Action stated. “Climate change threatens everyone in the U.S., but is a more immediate danger to some. Climate change exacerbates health inequities, disproportionately harming the most vulnerable among us — children and pregnant women, people with low income, the aged and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, some communities of color, indigenous people and tribal communities, immigrants, marginalized people of all races and ethnicities, and outdoor workers. Communities that have experienced systemic neglect and environmental racism have the least responsibility for climate pollution, but are the most affected. These communities have less access to the political, economic, social, and environmental resources that enable them to cope with climate threats and face potentially unmanageable pressures as the impacts of climate change mount."

Among the esteemed U.S. organizations that signed the Call were the American Medical Association, the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the American College of Physicians, and the American Lung Association.

A month later, in July, the British Medical Association chimed in, adopting a proposal from a Cornish radiologist to declare a climate emergency and campaign for carbon neutrality by 2030.

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