Introduction by Croakey: Recent floods in Queensland and New South Wales have put the spotlight on the damaging health impacts from climate change including risks to food security, mental health and trauma from widespread devastation.
It is disappointing – but perhaps not surprising – that climate change did not play a bigger part in the first leaders’ debate between the Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Scott Morrison tonight.
Discussions about climate change revolved around Albanese’s acknowledgement that politicians need to engage with young people on issues that concern them, and criticism of the Government’s response to the floods.
Meanwhile, the Climate and Health Alliance – which represents more than 80 organisations across the health sector – has released its election scorecard, showing the major parties do not rate a pass mark.
Climate and Health Alliance writes:
Both climate change and health consistently rank as priority issues for voters, yet the two major parties have inadequate policies to deliver on them, a new scorecard reveals.
One month ahead of polling day, the Climate and Health Alliance has released an analysis of how the parties compare on climate and health issues.
The scorecard reveals the Liberal Party is ‘partly committed’ to three out of 17 issues in the CAHA scorecard – electrifying transport, protecting the natural environment, and funding climate and health research.
Labor is ‘partly committed’ to seven out of the 17 issues: science-based emission reductions by 2030, stronger air quality standards, electrifying transport, protecting the natural environment, ensuring health and emergency services can respond to climate impacts, a progressive taxation system and a price on carbon. It is ‘fully committed’ to three.
The Greens are fully committed to 13 of the 17 climate and health priorities.
“The results of the scorecard show there is a real credibility issue for the major parties when it comes to dealing with climate change,” said CAHA Strategic Projects Director Fiona Armstrong.
“In some cases, they have even walked back on previous commitments, despite the growing number of Australians that want to see strong and ambitious action.
“We have heard too little in this election campaign about the issues that matter to our common future – like how to ensure thriving communities and a resilient healthcare sector in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world.”
The questions in the scorecard are based on Healthy, Regenerative and Just, a policy framework for a national strategy on climate and health, endorsed by over 70 health organisations.
“We have seen a lot of empty promises over the years,” said Armstrong.
“We hope this scorecard helps to cut through the noise, and will bring visibility to political parties’ positions at the intersection of climate and health. The health sector is calling loudly for action on climate, and is offering guidance to governments on what’s required. We would definitely welcome some further announcements before election day.”
A detailed analysis accompanies the full version of the Climate-Health scorecard, available on the CAHA website. It also includes details of some independent candidates’ policies.
Tweets on the leader’s debate
See Croakey’s extensive archive of stories about the climate crisis and health.