Health impacts of climate change

The Academy’s work on the health impacts of climate change addresses the most urgent areas for action in Australia.

The Academy released our statement on climate change and health in April 2022.  Our work on this project began following the devastating summer of 2019-2020, when bushfires burned more than 17 million hectares of Australian land, AAHMS brought together Fellows and other experts from across health and medicine to identify the health impacts. Our aim was to increase understanding of the short, medium and long-term impacts on health, and identify gaps in this understanding – especially where they relate to the actions needed to support individual and community recovery.

To further develop the meeting themes, the Academy formed a Climate Change and Health Steering Committee, which has conducted a series of sector discussions to uncover what is holding-up action on the health impacts of climate change, how we can start addressing the key health issues caused by climate change, and what can be learned from Indigenous knowledge while ensuring that First Nations voices are amplified.

We convened broad expertise via a series of roundtables and interviews in five areas:

  • The Australian bushfires and the impact on health
  • Delivering fully sustainable healthcare
  • Action on climate change and health – identifying key threats and blockages
  • Taking action on the health impacts of climate change – A path forward for Australia
  • Climate change, health, and First Nations knowledge practices.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia is likely to see higher frequency and severity of such extreme weather events over the coming decades. To make sure that Australia is equipped to recover from, and deal with future events, we must understand the health impacts of climate change – our project aims to address this need.

The Academy released our statement, Climate change: an urgent health priority in April 2022. 

Climate Change and Health Steering Committee

Cross-Academies work

Climate change is a pressing issue in Australia, with important knowledge and expertise held across the disciplines. The five Learned Academies and the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) are working closely to on this issue and in November 2022 released a statement: Moving from rhetoric to action – a joint statement on COP26.

AAHMS contact: Dr Ruby Guyatt, AAHMS Policy Manager ([email protected]

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