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  • A new report shows climate change damaging health

    Author: AAP

The effect of climate change on health is staking up factors causing diseases, less productivity at work and even rising suicide rates, a new report says.

Nine of the past 10 most suitable years for the transmission of dengue fever have occurred since 2000, and a new study blames this on climate change.

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According to the 2019 report on climate change published by medical journal, The Lancet, the disastrous effects of climate are not only impacting our environment, but also our health.

2018 was the second-most climatically suitable year on record for the spread of bacteria that cause much of diarrhoeal disease and wound infection globally, the report says.

The data gathered by researchers from different universities outlines extensive health damage from climate change, such as dangerous levels of air pollution contributing to 2,800 premature deaths in Australia in 2016.


"Health impacts of climate change include heat illness, asthma, heart disease, injuries, mosquito-borne diseases and diarrhoea," Monash Sustainable Development Institute director and senior author of the report, Professor Tony Capon said.

"Climate change has even been linked to depression."

One of the major Australian concerns expressed by the report is the health effect of heatwaves, which according to Associate Professor Yuming Guo, can be linked with higher suicide rates.

The report stated that 2019 updated indicator reinforces the need to examine the role that warming may play in accounting for suicide rates nationally and by jurisdiction.

"There's been a striking upward trend in the rate of increase in maximum temperatures over the past two decades," Professor Guo said.

"Large increases in heatwave intensity are also evident over the same period, with consequent risks for health, particularly among people experiencing underlying vulnerability and disadvantage."

These higher temperatures are also believed to affect productivity, their data showed, as recent Australian research registered many people thought that heat compromised their productivity.

Qualifying the lack of Australian national policy to address threats of climate change to health as 'disappointing to say the least', the report urged governments to take action.

"As a direct result of this failure" the report concludes that "Australia remains at significant risk of declines in health due to climate change, and that substantial and sustained national action is urgently required in order to prevent this."


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