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Australian Academy of Science: The unhealthy side of climate change

Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria. Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Those most likely to suffer health problems from climate changes are the elderly, the sick, the very young and disadvantaged, according to a major study by the Australian Academy of Science.

The Australian Medical Association has endorsed the study, Climate Change Challenges to Health: Risks and Opportunities.

The research examines pressures on health which Australia will face as global temperatures rise and climates change.

These include the health impacts of extreme weather events, changing patterns of disease, disruptions to food and water supplies, loss of livelihoods and increased threats to security.

“Human health is where we’ll see some of the most immediate impacts of a changing climate,” said one of the contributors to the report, Professor Bruce Armstrong.

“Whether it be more heat waves, tropical diseases moving to new areas, or lost jobs in farming, fishing and tourism; these are all directly linked to costs for health and mental health. The inequalities that already exist in society are likely to widen, as more advantaged groups are able to adapt better to this different world.”

The report is based on discussions between world experts and 60 early- and mid-career researchers at a think tank convened by the Academy with support from the Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund in Brisbane last year.

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