AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said today that the potential devastating impact that climate change would have on human health has been largely ignored by the major parties as they spruik their environmental policies ahead of the Federal Election.
Dr Capolingua said the AMA supports the Research Australia report - Healthy Planet, Places, and People - that concurs with the AMA's position on the threats to human health posed by climate change.
"There needs to be a greater effort to educate the Australian public about the adverse health effects we will be facing as climate change continues to impact on our lives," Dr Capolingua said.
"The major parties should be telling voters that climate change poses a genuine risk to our health and our way of life."
The health effects of climate change include increased heat related illness and deaths, increased food and water borne diseases, and changing patterns of diseases.
In addition to their impact on health infrastructure and services, extreme events such as droughts, flooding, and storms could be responsible for death and disease.
Dr Capolingua said there is no denying that the health of the planet and its ecosystem has a direct effect on people's health, and that climate change resulting from global warming would inevitably lead to adverse health effects.
"One of the first priorities for the incoming Government in November must be take action to counter climate change," Dr Capolingua said.
"The Government must ensure the Australian population and the medical profession are adequately resourced to combat the health risks of a changing physical environment.
"It will require the New Government to set a mandatory renewable energy target of 20 per cent by the year 2015 and ratify and implement the Kyoto protocol.
"And it will require significant funding to support research, monitoring, and assessment of the public health consequences of climate change, and public education campaigns on prevention of climate change."