From the Climate and Health Alliance:

In a world first initiative, over 40 leading health experts and organisations, along with federal parliamentarians, will today launch a Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia.

The Framework has been developed on behalf of a coalition of over thirty health and medical organisations, and follows a year-long national consultation to identify stakeholders’ priorities and concerns regarding the health impacts of climate change.

Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance Fiona Armstrong said: “The Framework provides a comprehensive roadmap to assist Australia in addressing the significant risks that climate change poses to the health and well-being of the community, and in meeting its obligations to citizen’s ‘right to health’ under the Paris Agreement.”

Nobel Laureate for Medicine and Our Climate Our Health campaign ambassador, Professor Peter Doherty said: “Australia must develop policy to address the health impacts from global warming? on its citizen now, and take decisive action to reduce emissions as part of the global effort to limit the worst effects of climate change on current and future generations. We are currently conducting a planetary scale experiment with uncontrolled dumping of CO2 at a rate that is truly frightening. No university ethics committee would ever sanction such a study for mice, let alone humans. We have to stop.”

President of Health Care Without Harm (USA) Gary Cohen said: “In many parts of the world, hospitals and health services are increasingly showing the way toward a low-carbon future. A national policy framework, such as the one proposed for Australia, can help support these efforts, and help accelerate the roll out of low-carbon healthcare while supporting community resilience and well-being. Transitioning away from fossil fuels is preventative medicine on a grand scale.”

Executive Director at Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change, Dr Nick Watts: “This policy framework provides a coordinated and comprehensive approach to supporting Australia to ?meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement. The implementation of a national strategy on climate change and health could put Australia in a leadership position globally and go a long way to ensuring the protection of communityhealth and well-being while reducing carbon emissions.”

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association CEO Alison Verhoeven said: “Our hospitals
and health services are already under pressure. Climate change is a threat multiplier, so we must make sure our hospitals and the health workforce are supported withcoordinated national policy approaches to ensure they are prepared and able to respond to climate-induced health impacts.”
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners President, Dr Bastian Seidel said: “As GPs, we are witnessing the impacts of climate change on our patients. Heatwaves such as those in Victoria in 2014 contributed to 167 avoidable deaths. Without climate action, global warming could contribute to several thousand additional deaths nationwide by 2050. Governments must work with the health sector to prioritise climate-health policy to prevent these predicted public health consequences.”

The Framework entails seven Areas of Policy Action, some of which include phasing out coal, greening hospitals, and a coordinated approach tomanaging the health consequences of extreme weather events, such as heat stress and thunderstorm asthma. Implementation of a national strategy will requirefederal, state/territory and local government actions, and cross-portfolio cooperation, involving health, energy and climate/environment portfolios working together.

The Framework is set to support Australia in reporting against a set of global climate and health indicators, published in the leading international medical journal, The Lancet, which will report each year on the progress of nations in addressing the health impacts of climate change, with the first report due in November 2017.