Skip to main content

Climate Change Blueprints: Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health in Australia

UNSWA_224086_Climate change blueprint project_AirPollution_cover_Page_01.jpg

The aim of this blueprint is to set out the necessary actions to minimise the risk of climate change and air pollution to human health in Australia.

It’s not just the health of our planet that will be affected by climate change; human health will also be impacted in significant and detrimental ways. The risks of poor health and death due to heat stress, malnutrition, and food- and water-borne diseases are all expected to rise. Vector-borne diseases such as malaria are also expected to become more widespread, food will be harder to grow, and freshwater supply will become more scarce in some regions.

The burning of fossil fuels and emissions of other climate altering pollutants are already having a deleterious impact on human health.  Global warming has increased the risk of heat-related death and illness, and regional temperature and rainfall changes have reduced food production in some regions.  But perhaps the most under-appreciated aspect of climate change and human health is the interplay between greenhouse gas emissions, climatic changes, and air pollution.

This blueprint includes several areas of co-benefit wherein tackling climate change will also lead to improved human health.  Front and centre in this is the benefit to society of cleaner air; namely, by addressing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting air pollution, human health will be significantly improved.  A win-win for all.