The climate change and health report, Lancet Countdown was released globally Thursday morning. The 2018 report is the result of 12 months of hard work from over 100 academics representing 27 academic institutions and UN agencies, across every continent. The report tracks 41 indicators across five domains in health and climate change. The full report can be viewed here and a short video summarising the key findings can be viewed here.
The 2018 report’s authors and the results from the 41 indicators derive the following four key messages:
- Present day changes in heat waves, labour capacity, vector-borne disease, and food security provide early warning of the compounded impact on public health that are expected if temperatures continue to rise. Trends in climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerabilities show an unacceptably high level of risk for the current and future health of populations across the world.
- A lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens both human lives and the viability of the national health systems they depend on, with the potential to disrupt core public health infrastructure and overwhelm health services.
- Despite these delays, a number of sectors have seen the beginning of a low-carbon transition, and it is clear that the nature and scale of the response to climate change will be the determining factor in shaping the health of nations for centuries to come.
- Ensuring a widespread understanding of climate change as a central public health issue will be crucial in delivering an accelerated response, with the health profession beginning to rise to this challenge.
Alongside this report, The Medical Journal of Australia has published a paper by Dr Ying Zhang and colleagues that describes Australia's policy inaction on climate change and health as a threat to Australian lives. The full paper can be viewed here.
The implementation of a National Strategy based on the Framework we developed would enable Australia to lift its performance in relation to the Lancet Countdown indicators.