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Statement on climate change

19 November 2019

RANZCOG is the lead standards body in women’s health in Australia and New Zealand, with responsibility for postgraduate education, accreditation, recertification and the continuing professional development of practitioners in women’s health, including both specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists, and GP obstetricians. Beyond this remit, RANZCOG recognises our role as an advocate for the health and wellbeing of women and girls, in Australia, New Zealand the Pacific and globally. Health is impacted by many environmental, economic, political, social and cultural factors.
 
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, is unequivocal in its position that human activity is a significant contributor to global warming and consequent environmental impact. RANZCOG is aligned with this position and observes that there are significant negative health impacts as a result of climate change.
 
Multiple contributing factors lead to climate change. The carbon footprint attributed to health care has been estimated to be 7% of Australia's total; with hospitals and pharmaceuticals the major contributors. Exploring opportunities for carbon-efficient processes to lower the impact of health-care services on the environment should be inherent in healthcare delivery.
 
This issue is the responsibility of governments, institutions and individuals, to urgently address the causes and impacts of climate change and to introduce policies to reduce carbon emissions, limit environmental degradation and other known causes of climate change, for the benefit of women and girls and the entire population.

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