“We’re running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe.” (22 April 2013, Elon Musk)

CLIMATE change has been labelled by The Lancet as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century,” with risks specific to children’s health well documented for almost 20 years. Last week, thousands of students across Australia walked out of class and marched in capital cities to assert their right to health and a healthy environment, demanding action on climate change.

In 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) had already estimated 160 000 deaths and 5.5 million disability-adjusted life years lost to climate change annually, with children carrying almost 90% of this burden and 99% occurring in low and middle income countries (McMichael et al 2004, Zhang 2007). More recent figures show that global warming is already or will be responsible for an additional 250 000 to 400 000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 (DARA 2012, Hales et al 2014).

The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is alarming. Human activities have already caused a 1oC increase in average global temperature since pre-industrial times, with widespread impacts on natural and human systems already being observed. The IPCC has now dialled back its previously recommended “safe” threshold of 2oC warming to a more stringent 1.5oC, citing that several hundreds of millions more people will live in climate-related poverty if this is exceeded. With our current trajectory leading us to over 3 degrees Celsius of warming, achieving this new target will require deep decarbonisation of the global economy, reaching zero net emissions by 2050, the report said. Of note, Australia has the highest per capita emission rate among all of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and is the 16th highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world (Garnaut 2008, Climate Change Authority 2014, International Energy Agency Energy Atlas 2018).

Climate change and the health of children

Climate change threatens the very foundations of children’s health – a safe and healthy environment, clean air and water, adequate food, control of infectious diseases, and social and economic stability – with children being more vulnerable than adults to environmental risk factors (Bunyavanich et al 2003, American Academy of Paediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health 2015). Children are smaller than adults, and their different and more sensitive physiological, behavioural and developmental requirements increase their exposure and long term impacts.

Despite a highly developed health care system, Australian children are vulnerable to many of these impacts. Australia itself is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries of the developed world, with the largest percentage rise of death attributable to extreme weather events in the OECD over the past 20 years. Excessive temperatures and heatwaves have been responsible for six to 25-fold increased rate of paediatric emergency department (ED) presentations for asthma, bacterial and viral gastroenteritis and dehydration (Lam, 2007; Xu et al, 2014), and up to double the risk of premature birth during pregnancy (Wang et al 2013, Strand et al 2012, Mathew et al 2017). Extreme temperatures also affect children’s (and adults’) ability to engage in outdoor activities and exercise (further exacerbating Australia’s obesity epidemic), and is also associated with decreased learning and poorer exam scores at school.

Asthma is the most common long term medical condition among Australian children, with one in nine children having the disease (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2009, AIHW 2011). Its increasing prevalence may be partly explained by higher concentrations of environmental allergens as well as outdoor air pollution, both of which are tied to global warming. Fossil fuel-generated air pollution causes an estimated 1250 ED presentations or hospital admissions for childhood asthma or respiratory illness annually in Australia’s four biggest cities alone. Traffic-related air pollution is associated with reduced fetal growth, low birth weight, slower attainment of developmental milestones and reduced cognitive function (Sunyer et al 2015, Grineski et al 2016). Children in prams, closer to vehicle-exhaust level, are exposed to up to 60% more traffic-related air pollution compared with adults.

Increasingly, climate volatility is already having a significant effect on food prices, production, quality and availability in Australia, which is facing its smallest winter crop of wheat and pulses in 10 years. Globally, the WHO and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) predict that an additional 25 million or more children will be undernourished, with 95 000 additional child deaths annually by 2030–2050 due to malnutrition (Lloyd et al 2011, IFPRI 2009, Hale et al 2014).

The WHO also anticipates an additional 48 000 deaths globally from diarrhoea annually by 2030–2050, mostly in children. In Australia, hospital admissions for diarrhoeal illness are predicted to increase by 10% among Indigenous children living in central Australia, and cases of food-borne bacterial gastroenteritis (eg, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Escherichia coli) will increase up to 60% by 2050.

The risk of vector-borne diseases such as dengue, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Murray Valley encephalitis and Australian bat lyssavirus is also expected to increase or vary from their current geographic distributions due to changes in temperature, precipitation and humidity, leading to possible increases of encephalitis and systemic illness.

The mental health repercussions of climate change on children are significant. The specific impacts of trauma on child development are multifactorial and depend on pre-existing coping mechanisms, support structures, and the timing and age of exposure. Children exposed to natural disasters experience high and/or sustained levels of mental distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety (McDermott et al 2014, Maclean et al 2016). Recent evidence also demonstrates adverse long term effects on cognitive functioning, learning ability and academic achievement (Pfefferbaum et al 2016, Sprung 2008, Pynoos et al 2006), and developmental delays in infants and toddlers born to mothers who have experienced natural disasters (King and Laplante 2005, King et al 2012, Moss et al 2017).

Child protection issues are under-recognised as a negative consequence of climate change, with demonstrated increases in child physical, emotional and sexual abuse, maltreatment and neglect after extreme weather events (Bartlett 2008, Rezaeian 2013, Keenan 2004, Biswas et al 2010).

Climate change amplifies inequity, so people already at greater risk of ill-health are likely to suffer disproportionately the negative health consequences compared with those who are better resourced. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities face continued significant health inequities, brought to prominence by Australia’s Closing the Gap campaign. Lower socio-economic conditions, poorer access to health services, and stronger traditional and cultural ties to the land and natural environment (ie, connection to country) make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (Green and Minchin 2014, Bowles 2015). Similarly, rural, regional and remote communities (particularly the agricultural and mining industries) rely more heavily on the land and natural environment for their livelihoods compared with those living in cities, so those living in these areas (including children) are more likely to be exposed to increasing climatic risks and their consequences.

Injustice and inequity

Children face the biggest climate change-related injustice – a transgression of intergenerational equity. They are more vulnerable to their surrounding environment and are less able to cope with its physical and psychological stresses and harms. Children are the least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and are least able to influence action on climate change, and yet, they will be exposed to its impacts for the duration of their lifetimes. Not only do children have the most to lose in terms of present and future health and quality of life, but they will also inherit a world that has been diminished in terms of resources, safety and opportunity unless effective swift action is taken to address our climate change emergency and protect their future.

What the health profession is already doing

Health and medical organisations in Australia and worldwide have started to take action. In Australia, the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons have all issued statements recognising climate change as a threat to human health and calling for action. The Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges distributed the communiqué Managing and responding to climate risks in healthcare earlier in 2018, endorsed by 11 medical colleges. The Climate and Health Alliance has developed the comprehensive Framework for a national strategy on climate, health and wellbeing for Australia. Similar initiatives have been undertaken globally by other distinguished medical organisations, particularly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

However, much more rapid and urgent mobilisation is needed if we are to escape global warming’s worst consequences. We must capitalise on the significant health cobenefits of tackling climate change, recognising that decreasing our fossil fuel dependence, encouraging active transport, and decreasing our red meat intake will measurably decrease the incidence and cost (in both health and economic terms) of air pollution-related illness, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. The health care sector in Australia is extremely energy- and resource-intensive and is responsible for 7% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Greening our hospitals is an achievable goal.

Finally, along with personal actions to reduce carbon pollution, in the name of preserving health, we must advocate personally and professionally for more aggressive climate action and strongly support the actions of the AMA and medical colleges.

Doctors for the Environment Australia, a peak medical organisation addressing climate change and its impacts on health, is launching an urgent children’s health awareness campaign – No Time for Games: protecting children’s health in a changing climate – and is asking all health professionals (nurses, doctors, allied health practitioners, medical students) across Australia to support the No Time for Games pledge. Health professionals are well placed to use their knowledge and standing to advocate for policies that protect health. This campaign is supported by the RACP and the AMA.

To protect the health of current and future generations of children, we must avoid the widespread, severe and irreversible impacts of climate change. We are responding to that call and ask you, personally and professionally, to join us and take this pledge to support:

  • an urgent, far more proactive, effective and whole-of-government approach to climate mitigation to ensure significant health benefits for children;
  • strengthening our primary, emergency, rural and mental health services to increasingly be able to respond to children affected by climate change (eg, during heatwaves);
  • greening our health care systems, in which health professionals are well placed to be a driving force to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste; and
  • considering divestment as an effective tool for diverting funds away from fossil fuel-related activities that undermine the fundamentals of health, towards cheaper alternatives such as renewable energies.

You can sign the pledge here.

Dr Karen Kiang is a Paediatrics Advanced Trainee in Melbourne, with special interests in international child health, refugee and asylum seeker health, climate change and hospital sustainability. She is also a Victorian DEA member, and is a lecturer on the health effects of climate change on children.

Professor David Isaacs is Clinical Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney. He has published over 400 papers, 25 humorous articles and 12 books, including (with his twin brother Stephen) a children’s book – The prickly pair. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

 

The statements or opinions expressed in this article reflect the views of the authors and do not represent the official policy of the AMA, the MJA or MJA InSight unless that is so stated.


Poll

Australian climate change inaction threatens lives








Loading ... Loading ...

28 thoughts on “Children and climate change: no time for games

  1. Alex Crandon says:

    Lets get serious here. Carbon dioxide is a TRACE gas that makes up 0.036% to 0.039% of the atmosphere. That is 1/27 of 1%. Of this, humans contribute about 3% or 0.001% of the air. Australia contributes 1% of the 0.001% of man-made CO2.

    If glasshouses are flooded with CO2 the temperature in the glasshouses doesn’t rise. However, the plants grow better because of the rich CO2 environment.

    If Australia stopped producing ALL CO2 as of the moment your reading this, it would have absolutely no affect on world climate. It would however, decimate our country and we would go back to living in some sort of quasi-stone age.

    Please think logically and use the science learnt many years ago.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is interesting to note that each of the previous mass extinction events that have been reviewed- In the book by Dr Peter Ward-“Under a Green Sky.” According to his analysis all major extinctions occurred when CO2 levels exceeded a thousand parts per million (ppm).

    The cause for concern is that the current CO2 level — approximately 393 ppm — is projected to reach a thousand ppm in approximately one hundred years at the current rate of increase. What is unknown is how quickly such a chain of events could occur, and precisely what they are. We are surpassing the rate of change that took 1 million years last time approx 50 million years ago. We do not know what the snowball effect of reduced ice at the poles and rapid release of previously stored carbon accumulated over millions of years will do.

    These children should be worried and as their parents and grandparents we need to act or consign them to a world we wouldn’t wish to live in. All well and good to go live elsewhere e.g. Mars but most of the less wealthy than the top 1-3% will be able to afford to do that after we have trashed the planet. We have the tools- lets use them!

  3. Greg the Physician says:

    An article on the recent issue of “Science” provides evidence that falling CO2 levels caused the extinction of most of the African species of giant herbivores, presumably by adversely affecting the vegetation. Data from NASA suggests a recent cooling effect, with one scientist even raising concerns about an approaching mini-Ice Age. So the science on climate change is most definitely NOT settled. Therefore, let’s not scare our children with left-wing propaganda that has the aim of a massive wealth redistribution from the developed to the developing world.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Alex Crandon.
    Look it up,he is correct.

  5. Dawkins says:

    Thanks for the laugh. Always entertaining when political activists try to sound scientific.

  6. John Graham says:

    Why does temperature increase precede carbon dioxide increase? Why did the earths temperature fall since 2016? After a mini ice age why would one not expect a rise in earths temperature. The science behind global warming is not clear. Even so the answer is not to cause economical chaos at this stage which is already hitting pensioners who cannot afford to heat their homes but to have a realistic plan for the future. This would require progressive decline in coal exports and domestic use with replacement by nuclear power. Other non viable power sources such as solar , wind, etc need to be worked on for the future but cannot provide reliable power now. We need to develop a manufacturing base, advanced technology such as robotics to stop our reliance on purely stuff we dig up.
    I would like to see Australia host a long term assessment of climate with rigorous evidence based debate on all the issues we glibly proclaim as truth.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh pur-leez.
    Can’t you just graciously accept your virtue-signalling solar-panel subsidies, without abetting the left-wing teachers’ unions brainwashing of our kids with more watermelon catastrophist doom-saying (no doubt typed on a digital device sourced from a Chinese factory almost certainly powered by coal)?
    You can’t do anything about it: adapt when and where necessary.

  8. Dr Roger BURGESS, radiologist says:

    Aw perlease perlease don’t scare the tripes out of our kids with this stuff, even if it were true. I bet the people of Iceland hope its true! They might be able to grow wheat once again. The climate has changed ever since the genesis of our Earth, so what’s the problem? Can’t wait to see the looks on the believers faces when the minie ice age kicks in later this century. Sadly, I would probably have carked it by then, more’s the pity.

  9. Rosalie Schultz says:

    Thanks Karen and David for this clear and concise work, highlighting the enormous challenge we face as health professionals.

    Droughts, floods, wildfires, wild storms and heat waves are already frightening, with health, social and economic costs. It was such a relief to see kids protesting in parliaments around the country last week, since our national government seems still unable to respond to climate science.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/03/coal-coal-coal-and-soaring-emissions-as-a-liberal-i-have-had-enough

  10. Anonymous says:

    There has been no affirmative scientific research to conclude that increased CO2 level has caused climate change. In fact, CO2 is not even a risk factor. The general public blindly accepts some distorted data from some crook “scientists”, the CSIRO and media. Has anyone considered the effect of the Sun and the stars on the Earth? We all know very well that if the Sun emits a little more radiation – Solar storms, the Earth would be “cooked”. The result of this ignorance is costing our economy dearly. After all, this climate change theory scrap and the Paris Accord have turned out to be robbing the rich to pay the poors – really?
    Why do our tax payers have to pay for these false ideology while Australia is deep in foreign debt? The event of students demonstrating last week is a shame to those behind it. Please leave the kids alone. Otherwise, you will pay dearly for your irresponsible action. Our children will work all their lives to pay for the debt they did not generate.
    Let’s stop all these nonsense for the the future generations.

  11. Skeptic says:

    Karen and David need to act like scientists and actually read the science – which is NOT settled. I recommend Professor Richard Lindzen’s outstanding work.
    The Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period were not caused by our CO2 emissions.
    Even if the catastrophic CO2 doom merchants are correct, there is nothing that Australia’s expensive and damaging emission reduction measures will do to change the temperature of this planet Earth.
    China’s emissions are exponentially increasing but none of these Green-Left nutters protest in Beijing.
    They virtue signal and protest in Australia only…

  12. Anonymous says:

    There are a number of scientists that disagree with the cause of climate change and that this has become a money making venture that the scientific evidence doesn’t support. If I can see the 4 documentaries like those that I have listed below, then surely more learned people should also do their own internet research to see the same as I do.

    Please look at these four links to form your own opinions.

    https://youtu.be/oYhCQv5tNsQ The Great Global Warming Swindle – Full Documentary by top climate professionals in their various fields.

    https://youtu.be/SXxHfb66ZgM; Nobel Laureate in Physicsm Giaever; who really had no interest in research on global warming other then he was asked to sit on a panel where global warming was to be a subject, so he thought he should do some Google research before that event – “Global Warming is Pseudoscience”

    https://youtu.be/fA5sGtj7QKQ ; The truth about global warming

    https://youtu.be/UGqcweY1a3I; Lord Christopher Monckton – Global Warming is a Hoax

  13. Vince says:

    Like the other Dawkins says, there are no Christian, Moslem, Jewish, kids. They are children of Christian, Moslem,Jewish parents. Young children have not the cerebral equipment to unravel the complexities relating to religious beliefs or of course climate changes. They are clever and seemingly articulate youngsters, voicing the opinions of their parents and even more likely their politically motivated teachers. Whose silly idea was it to put such an impost on such innocents ?. I think I know.

  14. Dawkins says:

    So many good comments.

    Good to see that not all doctors are as gullible as the authors of this article.

    I think more and more people are displaying a healthy skepticism, thanks to the increasingly hysterical claims from the perpetrators of the pseudo-science of catastrophic anthroprogenic climate change.

  15. physician says:

    This is the third epistle relating to adverse effects of “climate change” in recent AMA type emails on the web.

    There have been a few of these mini articles in the last few weeks.
    The principal writer is always telling the audience that all is terrible and that green theology is our only salvation.
    I presume the writers are members of a “friends of the environment” of similarly named organisation.
    It is a shame that any other opinion(s) never gets up in the media and on the rare occasions it doe sit is always scorned by someone “important”
    The federal election is 6-p months away and there are much more pressing matters than green theology but I suppose these can be drowned out by the usual unsubstantiated gross exaggerations made by the high priests of
    green theology.
    Medical doctors should stick to medicine.

  16. Cate Swannell says:

    FROM THE EDITOR: MJA InSight is not an AMA publication. We are editorially independent of the AMA. We didn’t commission these articles. They were submitted voluntarily. Perhaps if someone wanted to submit an article, supported by citable research, with a cogent argument for the “climate change conspiracy” then we would consider it for publication. Oddly enough nobody from the “climate change is bad science” brigade ever does. Challenge issued.

  17. Anonymous says:

    On the one hand we deplore the demise in standing of ‘the expert’, then we accord amateur medico climate-doomsayer bloggers standing.
    Rather than read similarly amateurish medico anti-climate-doomsayer bloggers, use the time usefully and try anything from Richard Lindzen, Bob Carter or Bjorn Lomborg (all citable).
    You guys have not yet licked cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease: don’t you think you could get your own house in order in areas where you are apparently expert, before you waste valuable column width on topics where you most indubitably are not?

  18. George Crisp says:

    Thanks Cate. It is no surprise that you do not receive evidence based articles refuting the causal role of CO2 in global warming or that climate change is not occurring because there is no such evidence to base such an article. The science behind this relationship is absolutely solid. In fact it has been for a century.

    Furthermore every major or national science academy supports climate change theory too. Why do you think that is?

    As for observations, these too are absolutely consistent with accelerating global warming; the World Meteorology Organisation is a good place to start: https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate – followed by every national organisation including our own BOM. The datasets are freely available to download and interrogate. And guess what they are all consistent too.

    NOAA have a very good graphic on documented observed changes to the atmosphere, hydrospere, cryosphere and biological systems that also document or reflect climate change https://cpo.noaa.gov/warmingworld/index.html

    The fact is that climate change is occurring – that is absolutely settled. There are uncertainties and they relate to how quickly the temperature will rise, whether there are positive feedbacks or tipping points, or how complex Earth systems will react to those changes. They could be better or worse than model projections.

    But most importantly as doctors we have a duty to understand this issue because of the very real and cumulative a health impacts that are already occurring – as outlined in the article.

    If you would like to understand the science on this subject there are some excellent online resources – such as the Royal Society (world’s oldest and respected established science body) here https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/climate-change/

  19. Cate Swannell says:

    So go ahead “Anonymous”, write me something … send 750-1500 words of cogently argued, referenced opinion and I will give it a run — assuming it gets through our editing process — in January of 2019 (we have a full book until then). Put your name to it, of course. We don’t do anonymous op-eds (we’re not the New York Times).

  20. Marcus Aylward aka Anonymous says:

    Thanks Cate, but in relishing the chance to goad me, I think you rather missed my point: amateur-hour climate-porn summaries in MJA Insight written by anybody, are time less well spent than going to the primary source material (always a better choice) by the authors I suggested.
    There are a great many credible scientists who dispute the present ‘consensus’: the “97% consensus” figure was rubbish science and statistics methodology when first published and is still rubbish.
    Given what is at stake in the decision-making, scientific certitude – on modelling! – does resemble a religious disposition, rather than the equipoise one might expect from scientists.
    And the IPCC is the peak scientific body only in the same way that the UN is the peak political body: i.e. both utterly flawed.

  21. Cate Swannell says:

    I’m not trying to provoke anyone Marcus. I’m trying to convince you or anyone with the views you have to put them out there in a cogent 1000 words, references and all, to help balance the view. Clearly, by your own arguments, you’ll be improving MJA InSight as well as the clarity of everybody reading. Why not do that? You obviously feel strongly enough about it, and the time you’ve taken writing comments here is longer than it would take you to bash out an op-ed.

  22. John Graham says:

    I know we are doctors and not climate scientists but we do need to address this problem. We can only look at the evidence and critically assess it as best we can and come to a decision. Fortunately we have a good mix of for and against of about similar proportions , so lets try to be logical rather than blindly emotional and just do it.
    Cate Swannell has indicated that she will accommodate logical debate but the issue of climate change is too big to fit into 1000 cogent words and few of us have the references at our finger tips or even if we do there is uncertainty about the veracity of the references themselves. What I propose is that a specific question be asked and replies given with references. We then all read these references and comment in the next issue . Perhaps Cate could sum up our collective response and move on to the next question. The first question is ‘ Is the earths temperature rising beyond the expected range and if so why? ‘

  23. Dawkins says:

    Nice try, Cate.

    But no, it’s not the job of your readers to counter political propaganda. It’s the job of you the editors not to publish it in the first place in what is meant to be a reputable medical journal.

  24. Cate Swannell says:

    Dear “Dawkins” … we don’t believe the science referenced in both our climate change articles this week to be “political propaganda”. We’re not idiots. We don’t publish everything that comes across our desk. We check references, we talk to our peers and we discuss amongst ourselves. There’s a reason why both the MJA (the Journal) and MJA InSight (they’re not the same thing by the way) both advocate for climate change action and I promise you it has nothing to do with politics. You can believe that or not. And “our readers” are the peers and colleagues of the people who write for us every week. The only thing stopping you from being an author and not just a reader, is your unwillingness to put pen to paper. Do I believe human activity is adversely affecting climate change? Yes. Does my personal belief stop me publishing a well-argued, well-referenced anti-climate change article? No. Come at me, see what happens. Be brave enough to submit to the process.

  25. Dr Catherine Ealing says:

    Consensus on Consensus

    Facts are facts. Irrespective of opinion they stay the same. Opinions however can change. So for those who question the consensus, here are some facts and the opportunity to re-think your opinion.

    Authors of seven climate consensus studies — including Naomi Oreskes, Peter Doran, William Anderegg, Bart Verheggen, Ed Maibach, J. Stuart Carlton, and John Cook — co-authored a paper that should settle the expert climate consensus question once and for all. The two key conclusions from the paper are:
    1) Depending on exactly how you measure the expert consensus, it’s somewhere between 90% and 100% that agree humans are responsible for climate change, with most of our studies finding 97% consensus among publishing climate scientists.
    2) The greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.
    Several studies of the consensus have been undertaken. Among the most-cited is a 2013 study of nearly 12,000 abstracts of peer-reviewed papers on climate science published since 1990, of which just over 4,000 papers expressed an opinion on the cause of recent global warming. Of these, 97% agree, explicitly or implicitly, that global warming is happening and is human-caused. It is “extremely likely” that this warming arises from “… human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases …”in the atmosphere. Natural change alone would have had a slight cooling effect rather than a warming effect.

    This scientific opinion is expressed in synthesis reports, by scientific bodies of national or international standing, and by surveys of opinion among climate scientists. Individual scientists, universities, and laboratories contribute to the overall scientific opinion via their peer-reviewed publications, and the areas of collective agreement and relative certainty are summarised in these respected reports and surveys. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was completed in 2014. Its conclusions are summarized below:

    “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia”.
    “Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years”.
    Human influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951-2010.
    “Increasing magnitudes of [global] warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts”
    “A first step towards adaptation to future climate change is reducing vulnerability and exposure to present climate variability”
    “The overall risks of climate change impacts can be reduced by limiting the rate and magnitude of climate change”
    Without new policies to mitigate climate change, projections suggest an increase in global mean temperature in 2100 of 3.7 to 4.8 °C, relative to pre-industrial levels (median values; the range is 2.5 to 7.8 °C including climate uncertainty).
    The current trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions is not consistent with limiting global warming to below 1.5 or 2 °C, relative to pre-industrial levels.[19] Pledges made as part of the Cancún Agreements are broadly consistent with cost-effective scenarios that give a “likely” chance (66-100% probability) of limiting global warming (in 2100) to below 3 °C, relative to pre-industrial levels.
    RE The Columbia Glacier in Alaska – 1986 vs 2011
    The Columbia Glacier in Alaska, one of many vanishing around the world. Glacier retreat is one of the most direct and understandable effects of climate change.
    National and international science academies and scientific societies have assessed current scientific opinion on global warming. These assessments are generally consistent with the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    No scientific body of national or international standing maintains a formal opinion dissenting from any of these main points. The last national or international scientific body to drop dissent was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which in 2007 updated its statement to its current non-committal position. Some other organizations, primarily those focusing on geology, also hold non-committal positions.

  26. Dr Catherine Ealing says:

    Our government is one of some 200 national state members of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As a nation, along with almost 200 other nations, we have signed off on the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2oC. We know the science: we have accepted and endorsed the facts about climate change appreciating that there is a 97% consensus among the experts in climate science that our present climate change is real and that it is manmade. Australia has agreed to do our part to reduce global GHG emissions.

    The IPCC in October this year, based on updated research findings and ensuing heightened concern, called for global, urgent and deep GHG emission cuts across the whole of government and civil society. “It is not just about saving the planet in the future, it is about protecting the health of the people right now.” said María Neira, WHO Director of Public and Environmental Health. “The damage caused by coal, oil and gas pollution is outrageous” she said. “Morally, delaying the [clean energy] transition is being responsible for millions of deaths every year. [Leaders] need to ask themselves how many deaths are [they] willing to accept. When health is taken into account, climate action is an opportunity, not a cost.”

    Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, at the World Health Organization and also an IPCC report author, said we should no longer be talking about the cost of [cutting emissions], we should talk about the benefits to people’s health of investing in what needs to be done.” “At the moment we pretend that polluting [fossil] fuels are cheap fuels, only because we don’t include the cost of them to our health and economy.” The IMF estimates these subsidies to the fossil fuel industry to be $5tn a year, more than all governments currently spend on healthcare.

    Campbell-Lendrum went on further to say, that doctors need to press hard for climate action: “The health profession is the single most trusted profession in the world.”

    Australia is among 200 nations currently meeting in Katowice, Poland for 2 weeks with the aim of making the Pledges given in Paris in 2015 to keep global warming below 2oC a reality. We are already 1oC warmer. If we continue as business as usual, we will be on track for a disastrous 3oC increase in global warming by 2100. If we now instead, as Australia’ plans to do, open new coal mines, start up new coal-fired power plants and develop new massive fracking enterprises in WA and Northern Territory, well, as Sir David Attenborough, the Peoples Representative at COP 24 said, the “collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon”.

    David Attenborough also said, “We are facing a manmade disaster on a global scale, and our greatest threat in thousands of years: Climate Change”.

    Below is a copy of the Geneva Declaration, to remind us all of what it really means to be a doctor and a member of our noble profession.

    The Declaration of Geneva, as currently published by the World Medical Association reads:

    AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION
     I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;
     THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
     I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;
     I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
     I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
     I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
     I WILL PRACTICE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;
     I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;
     I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;
     I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;
     I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;
     I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
     I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

    Doctors and medical organisations have spoken up and acted to protect the health of their populations many times over the centuries. Whether it be for clean water, the wearing of seat belts, HIV/AIDS, KidsOffNauru, or Tobacco to name but a few. Organizations representing more than five million doctors, nurses and public health professionals from 120 countries have issued a call to action to the climate summit in Poland. Similarly, lead articles in journals such as the Lancet Countdown and MJA recognise that we are facing a global public health emergency and as doctors, we must speak up.

    The medical profession has never before needed to speak up and act as it does now, to protect the health of our community and the future of humanity.

    No Time for Games offers all health professionals and organisations the opportunity to speak out with one unified voice for those who do not have voice and whose health is most at risk, children.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “…to speak out with one unified voice for those who do not have voice and whose health is most at risk, children.”
    Was that ‘unborn’ children?

  28. Anonymous says:

    It was good to see the young demonstrate . I hope our political leaders will get on board.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.