The federal government is being urged to develop a national strategy to address the damaging impact climate change will have on the health of Australians in the future.
Released on Wednesday (November 30), The Climate Commission report warns that injury, disease and deaths relating to global warming will continue to grow unless sustained action is taken.
In the report – entitled The Critical Decade – the commission warns a rise in heart attacks, strokes, accidents and heat exhaustion could be sparked by heatwaves stronger than those already felt in Australia.
Medical professionals and health bodies support the commission's findings, agreeing that climate change could put increasing pressure on already overburdened health services and infrastructure.
"This important new report shows clearly that climate change poses serious risks for the health of Australians, especially for those in our community who are already most vulnerable," former Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley said in a statement (November 30).
According to Australian Medical Association president Dr Steve Hambleton, climate change poses "a real and imminent threat to the health of Australians".
"The federal government must develop a national strategy for health and climate change to ensure that Australia can respond effectively to the health impacts of climate change, extreme events and to people’s medium to long-term recovery needs."