The White House states: “President Obama is committed to combating the health impacts of climate change and protecting the health of future generations. We know climate change is not is not a distant threat, we are already seeing impacts in communities across the country. And while most Americans see climate change hitting their communities through extreme weather events – from more severe droughts and wildfires to more powerful hurricanes and record heat waves – there are other threats climate change poses to the American people. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled, and climate change is putting these individuals and many other vulnerable populations at greater risk of landing in the hospital. Certain people and communities are especially vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of colour. Rising temperatures can lead to more smog, longer allergy seasons, and an increased incidence of extreme-weather-related injuries. That is why the President is taking action now. The sooner we act, the more we can do to protect the health of our communities our kids, and those that are the most vulnerable.”
The US action highlights Australian inaction. Australia has no national initiatives to protect health from climate change, nor any plans to develop any. There are no consistent efforts by policymakers to build resilience in the health care sector to ensure services continue to be available during extreme weather events, and very little research is being funded to evaluate climate impacts on health in Australia.
(Climate Health Alliance in Australia)