Just days after the launch of Australia’s controversial carbon tax, celebrity scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki has highlighted the absurd reality that some politicians are still denying the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change to an audience of almost 1000 medical students at the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) National Convention.
AMSA President, Mr James Churchill, has echoed the concerns of Dr Karl and stressed that shifts in climate can result in devastating health consequences.
“Climate change is the greatest threat to health of the 21st century,” Mr Churchill said.
“Australia must invest time, effort and finances to create real reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.
“Climate change could severely harm the health of communities because of increased frequency and severity of bushfires, floods and heatwaves as well as crop degradation, water scarcity, mass migration and increased prevalence of infectious disease such as dengue fever.
“Climate change affects the world's most disadvantaged people earlier and more severely and urgent action is needed to prevent unnecessary disease and death," he said.
Action on climate change has many additional health benefitsbeyond simply reducing the harmful effects of climate change, including reductions in cardiovascular disease, mental health problems and respiratory illness due to improvements in transport, air pollution, diet and energy consumption.
“Medical students and practitioners must take the lead in educating the public on the likely health effects of climate change and advocating for action that is both immediate and sustainable,” he said.
AMSA believes that health professionals should receive training to ensure they are capable of effectively managing the health effects of climate change.
Medical students will be engaging in critical issues affecting Australia’s health at the AMSA National Convention, being held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre until Sunday 8th July. A press conference will be held at 9.15am Thursday 5th July. For details about the press conference and other media opportunities at this year’s National Convention, please visit:
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