4.1. Climate change is regarded as the most serious global health threat of the 21st Century (Costello et al., 2009). The major threats, both direct and indirect, come from changing patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, vulnerable shelter and human settlements, extreme climatic events such as more catastrophic bushfires, droughts, floods and cyclones, and population growth and migration.
4.2 The main categories of risks to physical health in Australia come from health impacts of extreme weather events, temperature extremes, vector-borne infectious diseases, food-borne infectious diseases, water-borne infectious diseases and risks from poor water quality, diminished food production, increased in urban air pollution, (Horton & McMichael, 2008)
4.3 The main mental health consequences of climate change will come from direct impacts of extreme weather events, disruptions to the social, economic and demographic determinants of mental health (e.g., from impaired rural livelihoods, increased costs of basic services), and emotional stresses and mental health problems in response to perceptions/fears of climate change and to family stresses.
4.4 The most severe impacts of climate change will fall on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who have played the smallest part per capita in contributing to the rise in greenhouse gases. Variations in vulnerability to climate change impacts are evident across nations and communities, and also across social class, age, and gender, with women, children, the elderly, and future generations more vulnerable.
The Australian Psychological Society position statement on Psychology and Climate Change, August 2010