There is "clear scientific evidence indicating severe impacts for our patients and communities now and into the future,” said an AMA press release published Tuesday.
The American Medical Association, American College of Physicians and the British Medical Association all declared climate change a threat to human health this year. The UN’s World Health Organization has recognized climate change as a health emergency since 2015, calling it the “greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.”
According to the press release, the AMA Federal Council decided to formally recognize climate change as a health emergency during a meeting last month in Canberra, where the council discussed the “severe health consequences” of climate change on vulnerable populations in Australia and the Pacific region, as well as around the world.
“The AMA accepts the scientific evidence on climate change and its impact on human health and human wellbeing,” AMA President Tony Bartone recently declared, according to the press release.
“The scientific reality is that climate change affects health and well-being by increasing the situations in which infectious diseases can be transmitted, and through more extreme weather events, particularly heatwaves,” Bartone explained.
According to the AMA press release, climate change will increase mortality and morbidity from heat stress, bolster the transmission of vector-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, cause food insecurity and even lead to a “higher incidence of mental ill-health.”
“These effects are already being observed internationally and in Australia. There is no doubt that climate change is a health emergency. The AMA is proud to join the international and local chorus of voices urging action to address climate change on health grounds,” Bartone noted.
The AMA is calling on the Australian government to “adopt mitigation targets, promote an active transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, develop a national strategy for health and climate change and establish a National Sustainable Development Unit to reduce carbon emissions in the healthcare sector,” the press release outlines.