Issue 1 • 2022
© 2022 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Climate change and health remains a key policy and advocacy priority for the RACP.
Our key calls for action are for:
  • the Australian Government to develop and implement a national climate change and health strategy to coordinate action on health-specific climate adaptation and mitigation across all states and territories.
  • an urgent transition from fossil fuels to zero emission renewable energy across all economic sectors, with support to affected communities.

The College is a member of the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA). The Alliance has made significant contributions to climate change and health advocacy over the last 10 years, including:
  • Developed the 2017 Framework on a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Wellbeing, with CAHA soon to release Framework 2.0 for a National Strategy.
  • Advocated for a plan for zero emissions healthcare by 2040 supported by the recent Global Roadmap to Zero Emissions Healthcare by Health Care Without Harm. CAHA also backs our call for the establishment of healthcare sustainability units in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand in our Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare position statement.
  • Developed the Human Health and Wellbeing Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Queensland with the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.
  • Published Healthy, Regenerative and Just: Our Vision for a Better Future and Australia in 2030: Possible alternative futures, which outline a post-pandemic policy agenda for a healthy climate future. These documents were developed following CAHA’s ‘Rewrite the Future: Possible Alternative Future Scenarios for Australia 2020–2030’ online roundtables, held in 2020. The RACP was represented at the roundtables by the Presidents of the RACP’s Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine.
The ‘Real, Urgent and Now’ Project (RUN)– Communicating the health impacts of climate change
The RACP is a partner in CAHA’s ‘Real, Urgent and Now’ Project (RUN), which aims to build capability in the healthcare sector to understand and communicate the health challenges posed by climate change.
As part of the RUN Project, we sent a survey in late 2020 to all Australia-based Adult Medicine members that explored their understanding of climate change and health, and whether they were talking about it. Alongside this, we also worked with the George Mason University (GMU) to distribute a similar survey to our Australia-based Paediatric and Child Health Medicine members. 397 Adult Medicine members responded to the CAHA survey, and 189 Paediatrics members responded to the GMU survey. The GMU has published a Viewpoint in the Lancet Planetary Health on View of health professionals on climate change and health: a multinational survey study. CAHA will soon release the results of their survey.
In future, along with CAHA and other project partners, such as the Public Health Association Australia (PHAA), the Australian Medical Student Association (AMSA), the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) and the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA), we have developed communication resources for health professionals about climate change and health which are useful for future advocacy (see box below).
New resources are being developed on a range of topics, such as women’s health and climate change, or how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people view the health risks of climate change. Watch this space.

How you can act on climate and health:
  • Guide for medical professionals: Communicating the health impacts of climate change'
  • 10 ways health professionals can act on climate
  • Expressions of Interest: Indicate your interest in being a media spokesperson for CAHA on climate change and health