Australian news, and some related international items

Queensland government climate strategy stresses the health impacts

heat stress among children and the elderly was the health sector’s main concern for the future.
Health impacts key focus of new Queensland climate change strategy

The new statewide strategy to tackle climate-driven health risks argued doctors could play a role as “highly trusted” messengers about climate impacts to the community, where politicians have failed.

The plan, obtained by the ABC ahead of its launch today by Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles, revealed the health sector regarded a lack of political support — including mixed messages from the Government’s own pro-coal and gas development decisions — as the key barrier to adapting to climate change.

The Human Health and Wellbeing Climate Change Adaptation Plan, part of the State Government’s strategy to cut net carbon emission to zero by 2050, urged top bureaucrats and executives to factor in health impacts when assessing mining, energy and waste projects.

The plan, developed by Griffith University’s National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), found heat stress among children and the elderly was the health sector’s main concern for the future.

It said the Government should consider “redirection of subsidies that support activities harmful to health and climate stability, and application of levies or taxes on external drivers”.

It cited the polluter-pays principle for the health and environmental costs of activities “which traditionally have not been accounted for”.  The next most pressing concern was increasing disease outbreaks beyond the tropical north via food, water and mosquitos.

Vulnerable communities included farmers, who faced mental distress from crop and stock losses, and aged people in far north Queensland.

Other climate-driven health concerns were “food and water insecurity, malnutrition, worsening chronic, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and children’s health and development”.

The plan’s priorities included public education that “must focus on disadvantaged groups who are most at risk from climate-related pressures”.

It said professional health and medical groups could help by lifting their profile in the public debate around climate change.

“As a highly trusted source of credible information, the health and medical community can advance community understanding of climate change and its health impacts, and the message that climate solutions are a health priority and will provide health benefits,’ the plan stated.

Mr Miles said doctors and nurses “almost certainly could do a better job than politicians” who had let the community down on the issue.

“If you just looked at the media and listened to politicians, you’d think (climate change) was contested, you’d think there was an argument each way. Well of course, there isn’t,” he told the ABC.

David Rissik, the lead author of the plan at NCCARF, told the ABC health professionals were ideally placed to speak truth to power about climate change and win community backing……….


September 12, 2018 - Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland

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