Canberra : A coalition of health groups have written an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for urgent action on climate change. The letter from 29 groups including the Climate and Health Alliance (CHA), the Australian Epidemiological Association (AEA) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) warned that climate change is accelerating and posing an “existential threat to humanity”.
“To avoid further health and environmental disasters, governments must take heed of the science, listen to health experts and act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the natural environment,” it said. Chief Executive of the PHAA Terry Slevin said while the pandemic has received much attention in 2020, climate change is a greater threat to humanity.
“Climate change is something which poses just as significant, if not a greater, challenge in terms of the impacts on human health, societies and economies,” he said.
“We are already witnessing the public health impacts of climate change through bushfires and smoke, through heatwaves, through communities devastated by drought.”
Morrison has repeatedly declared that he will not be pressured into adopting a 2050 net-zero emissions target. The open letter came days after the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) published their sixth biennial State of the Climate report. The landmark report found that Australia is already under the effects of climate change, with the country experiencing more extremely hot days in 2019 than triple the number in any of the years prior to 2000, leading to an increased threat from bushfires, droughts, floods and tropical cyclones.