A coalition of medical professionals in Western Australia, 'Doctors for the Environment (WA Branch),' is calling on the state government to take more assertive action against climate change. The group's demands include putting a halt to the approval of new gas projects and incorporating more ambitious emission reduction targets for 2030 in the upcoming Climate Change Bill 2023.
Climate Change: A Health Crisis
The doctors draw attention to a steep increase in hospital admissions and fatalities related to heat. In the last decade, over 7,000 hospitalizations and 300 deaths have been linked to extreme heat. Dr. Tim Leahy, a general practitioner, noted a significant rise in emergency cases at a Perth hospital during a recent heatwave. He emphasized that the current infrastructure of the health system is ill-equipped to handle the increasing frequency and severity of such events.
Increasing Heatwaves and Their Impact
Backing the doctors' assertion, The Lancet medical journal's recent Annual Climate-Health report disclosed that the community is now experiencing twice as many heatwave days compared to the period between 1986 and 2005. Furthermore, heat-related deaths among people older than 65 have risen by 85 per cent compared to the 1990-2000 decade.
Call for Stronger Climate Legislation
The Conservation Council of WA has joined the doctors in their plea for action. The Council stressed that the new climate bill, while a good start, is not sufficient to address the state's emissions crisis. Both groups are advocating for the immediate cessation of new fossil fuel projects and a quick transition away from existing ones. They believe these steps are crucial to mitigating the impacts of climate change and safeguarding the community's health.