'The world has been warned that there needs to be a massive improvement in efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions if a catastrophic increase in global temperatures is to be averted'
— Australian Medical Association April 2014
The Australian Medical Association responded to the 2014 5th assessment report of the IPCC with a major statement calling for urgent action on mitigating climate change, and a statement Health at Centre of Climate Change Action supporting the call for doctors to be at the forefront of action to combat climate change
The Australian Medical Association released its position paper Climate Change and Human Health in May 2004 (revised 2008). An important focus of their backgrounder is climate equity.
From the introduction:
"The human toll of climate change will largely depend on a person's location, access to health services and the availability of critical incident and public health infrastructure. Because of this climate change is 'arguably one of the largest environmental and health equity challenges of our times as the wealthy energy consuming nations are responsible for the emissions that cause global warming yet poor countries are most at risk' of the detrimental effects" (quoting from Climate change and human health: what do we know? by Anthony McMichael and Rosalie Woodruff, 2002).
From the section on global health impacts:
"There is a strong positive relationship between absolute poverty and ill-health. Deprived communities, lacking wealth, social institutions, environmental security and robust health, are likely to be at greatest risk of adverse health from environmental change. This constitutes a powerful argument for Australia to act in a globally responsible manner."
"The AMA believes that human health is ultimately dependent on the health of the planet and its ecosystem.
The AMA believes it is possible to mitigate the possible consequential health effects of climate change through improved energy efficiency, clean energy production and other emission reduction steps.
The AMA calls on the Federal Government to ratify and implement the Kyoto protocol. Failure to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions has the potential to cause significant global public health problems
The AMA believes that an effective emissions control program could be instituted without having a negative impact on the Australian economy. This can best be achieved by combining energy conservation with new alternative technologies that would reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
The AMA believes that the Federal Government should implement a National Greenhouse Policy that engages all Australians in ensuring that we meet the Kyoto target and start to dramatically cut our greenhouse pollution.
That AMA recognises the importance of developing renewable energy sources as a means of affecting global climate change and its health ramifications. The AMA calls on the Federal Government to set a Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) of 10% by the year 2010.
The AMA supports research, education, prevention, monitoring, and assessment relating to the public health issues that may arise from climate change."
Scientists have consistently predicted that most effects of climate change on health would be adverse. Health impacts may entail increased mortality rates from existing diseases. New climatic-environmental conditions, not previously encountered, may also increase the likelihood of unfamiliar health impacts arising.
— AMA Climate Change and Health