Climate change, environmental extremes, and human health in Australia: challenges, adaptation strategies, and policy gaps

Rongbin Xu, Pei Yu, Yanming Liu, Gongbo Chen, Zhengyu Yang, Ying Zhang, Yao Wu, Paul J Beggs, Ying Zhang, Jennifer Boocock, Fei Ji, Ivan Hanigan, Ollie Jay, Peng Bi, Nicole Vargas, Karin Leder, Donna Green, Katie Quail, Rachel Huxley, Bin JalaludinWenbiao Hu, Martine Dennekamp, Sotiris Vardoulakis, Angie Bone, Jonathan Abrahams, Fay H Johnston, Richard Broome, Tony Capon, Shanshan Li, Yuming Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate change presents a major public health concern in Australia, marked by unprecedented wildfires, heatwaves, floods, droughts, and the spread of climate-sensitive infectious diseases. Despite these challenges, Australia's response to the climate crisis has been inadequate and subject to change by politics, public sentiment, and global developments. This study illustrates the spatiotemporal patterns of selected climate-related environmental extremes (heatwaves, wildfires, floods, and droughts) across Australia during the past two decades, and summarizes climate adaptation measures and actions that have been taken by the national, state/territory, and local governments. Our findings reveal significant impacts of climate-related environmental extremes on the health and well-being of Australians. While governments have implemented various adaptation strategies, these plans must be further developed to yield concrete actions. Moreover, Indigenous Australians should not be left out in these adaptation efforts. A collaborative, comprehensive approach involving all levels of government is urgently needed to prevent, mitigate, and adapt to the health impacts of climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100936
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalThe Lancet regional health. Western Pacific
Volume40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

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