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Heat-related deaths under-estimated as temperatures and extreme heat events increase

Moreland’s social heat vulnerability

Researchers at the Australian National University say that heat related deaths have been greatly underestimated. In the 11 years between January 2006 and October 2017 an estimated 36,765 deaths in Australia can be attributed to heat-related causes.

As we know climate change is increasing average temperatures and the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events in Australia.

Moreland is particularly vulnerable to extreme heat being a heavily built up urban environment where the urban heat island effect is strong. The urban tree canopy in Moreland is still declining due to urban consolidation and development overwhelming the Council program for planting 5000 new trees a year. We also have large cohorts of vulnerable populations, such as elderly people and non-english speaking migrants.

Researchers have already warned that Sydney and Melbourne may soon experience extreme heat days over 50 degrees Celsius during summer heat events.

According to the researchers, the amount of deaths attributed to excessive natural heat is at least 50 times more than recorded on death certificates.

Correspondence published in the medical journal, Lancet Planetary Health, argues that over the past 11 years 340 deaths in Australia were recorded as being due to excessive heat but statistical analysis found 36,765 deaths could have been attributed to heat.

“Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” co-author Dr Arnagretta Hunter, from the ANU Medical School, said.

“There is second component on a death certificate which allows for pre-existing conditions and other factors.

“If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.

“We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke.”

The new analysis suggests Australia’s national heat-related mortality rate is around two per cent.

“Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from coronavirus,” Dr Hunter said.

“We are successfully tracking deaths from coronavirus, but we also need healthcare workers and systems to acknowledge the relationship between our health and our environment.

“In Australia heat is the most dominant risk posed from climate change.”

The researchers say death certification needs to be modernised to reflect the impact of large-scale environmental events.

“We know the summer bushfires were a consequence of extraordinary heat and drought and people who died during the bushfires were not just those fighting fires – many Australians had early deaths due to smoke exposure,” Dr Hunter said.

The correspondence to the Lancet Planetary Health argues that:

Climate change is a concern to many people. But if the effect of extreme temperatures is not recorded, its full impact can never be understood. Death certification needs to be modernised, indirect causes should be reported, with all death certification prompting for external factors contributing to death, and these death data must be coupled with large-scale environmental datasets so that impact assessments can be done.

Study: Heat related deaths under reported

Sources:

May 26, 2020 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

Pandemic disruption should cause us to reassess aviation policies and airport expansion

Virgin Airlines goes into volubntary administration due to Pandemic


The Management of Virgin Airlines has put the company into administration, due to the impact of the pandemic in reducing need for essential travel, and the huge debt the airline has accumulated. Most Virgin planes are presently sitting at airports, huge stranded assets.

Labort MP for Wills, Peter Khalil, has said in a Facebook Post Labor has been calling on the Morrison Government to Save Virgin. But is this the wisest move given the future for passenger aviation demand in a pandemic with no assurances of a vaccine available and the level of greenhouse gas emissions and climate impact by aviation?

Virgin Airlines is presently owned by Etihad Airways (20.94%), Singapore Airlines (20.09%), Nanshan Group (19.98%), HNA Group (19.82%), Virgin Group (10.42%). Bailing out Virgin is bailing out foreign corporations, some of these owned by other nations.
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April 22, 2020 at 2:12 am 1 comment

5 Principles for a Just Covid Response and a #JustRecovery

Climate Action Moreland has joined a global call on response to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, and also called on the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers for no evictions.

We ask that all governments, and the MPs and Councillors that represent our community, use these principles as the basis for decisions they make in coming months as the crisis unfolds.

The Choices we make today will shape our society, economy, health and climate for decades to come. Climate justice also requires socisl justice and health justice.
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March 25, 2020 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

Brunswick Climate Fair postponed due to CoronaVirus

Wilson Street, Brunswick – Climate Fair location


Climate Fair event on Saturday postponed due to rapid escalation of the Coronavirus CorVid-19 public health response.

Climate organisations in Moreland have been working to organise a climate fair to be held at Wilson Avenue in Brunswick on Saturday 14 March, with the assistance and co-operation of state Greens MP Tim Read.

With the cancellation of the Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend, it is clear that major gatherings of people poses a major public health commumnity transmission risk. Social distancing needs to be employed to reduce level of virus transmission.

Slowing down community transmission of this virus is important to ensure the public health system has the resources to repond adequately to the level of demand required.

Dr Tim Read, the local state MP for Brunswick, put out a statement saying “It now seems the wrong time to bring people together for any non-essential reason.”

“While the Fair would likely be safer than a tram or a classroom, Perceptions matter in campaigning.”
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March 13, 2020 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Inquiry on achieving 100 percent renewables passed by Victorian State Parliament

The Victorian Parliament on Wednesday supported a Greens motion in the Legislative Council, looking at pathways for Victoria to be powered by 100 per cent clean energy, including the economic and employment benefits of such an energy transition.

Victoria currently has a 50 per cent renewables target by 2030. Coal currently provides 70 per cent of the state’s electricity.

The Inquiry won’t start until later in 2020 or early 2021, highlighted Samantha Ratnam in breaking the news in a Facebook post.
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March 4, 2020 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

Climate action centre stage at Sydney Road Street Party

Peter Khalil MP public engagement issues board at end of Sydney Road Street Party. Source: Courtesy Peter Khalil

Thousands of people strolled and paraded along Sydney Road on Sunday 1st March for the annual Sydney Road Street Party. The street was closed to all traffic and trams from Brunswick Road to Victoria street. Climate Action Moreland was there with a stall, up near the Victoria street end. We provided a local climate / environment hub for Stop Adani Moreland, Neighbours United for Climate Action, Newlands Friends of the Forest, and Moreland BUG to locate and campaign with us.

Our main engagement activity was collecting signatures for our petition to City of Moreland to amend their Procurement Policy with regard to businesses that sign contracts to do work with the Adani Coal mine. If you missed us on the day, you can sign our digital version of the petition to Moreland City Council on Adani.
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March 4, 2020 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

Moreland plans well on track to meet Net Zero by 2050 climate target

Impact on 2020 greenhouse emissions reduction goal as part of Moreland’s Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan . Source: Moreland Council


A report by Climate Works assessing 57 of the largest municipalities and shires in Australia has highlighted that Moreland is one of three local Governments in Australia fully aligned with emissions reduction of Net Zero by 2050 climate target.
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February 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

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This is the current C02 in our atmosphere. We need to get it below 350 for a safe climate.

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