Approved 9 September 2021, Permission for Vote Earth Now 4 October 2021
Many Vote Earth Now Climate Voters are doctors! They are thus in the privileged position of better understanding the health implications of climate change for their patients and have the responsibility of advocating on the behalf of those same patients. This document outlines Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA)’s main policy asks of federal government. They are intended for use by DEA members in meetings with MPs and as guidance for submissions, open letters and other communications to government. If you are a doctor meeting with your local MP they provide a useful guide to the changes required to protect the health of your patients into the future.
These policy asks consist of two parts.
The first are DEA’s immediate policy asks to the federal policy makers in the lead up to COP26 in November and the federal election period (possible March-May 2022). They are asks that we believe are achievable with strong, targeted campaigning across the climate and health sectors. If we advocate for unrealistic targets we run the risk of achieving nothing at all.
The second are DEA’s longer-term goals. They are important and urgent, but are not included in the immediate policy asks because we do not believe they are politically possible for the federal election/COP period.
Immediate policy goals/asks (until COP/Federal election)
1. Adopt an ambitious national plan to cut climate pollution (emissions) this decade to protect health, with strong, science-based targets that at minimum match our key allies and trading partners. This plan would include:
• banning new coal, gas and oil projects and ending public funding to fossil fuels;
• a national plan to clean up transport and accelerating transition to electric vehicles; and
• delivery of 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
2. Significantly increase Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement at UN climate negotiations (COP26), in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 C. (until COP26 in November 2021).
3. Adopt a Climate Change Bill (until bill is voted on in October 2021).
4. Protect and restore nature through:
• fully implementing the recommendations of the Samuel Review of Australia’s environmental laws; and
• signing up to the UN post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes committing to protect at least 30% of land and sea by 2030.
5. Establish a national Sustainable Healthcare Unit to support environmentally sustainable practice in healthcare and reduce the sector’s own significant emissions.
Longer term goals/asks:
6. Adopt a national plan to reduce climate pollution (ERTs) by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030, and reach zero emissions by 2035.
7. Develop a national climate change and health strategy to facilitate planning for future climate health impacts and to support an 80% reduction in emissions in the healthcare sector by 2030, with full decarbonisation by 2040.
8. Ensure that the recommendations of the Samuel Review of Australia’s environmental laws are effectively implemented, and our commitments under the Global Biodiversity Framework met, through allocation of adequate funding and other resources.