Health impacts of climate change on Indigenous Australians: identifying climate thresholds to enable the development of informed adaptation strategies
Adaptation Research Grants Program
This project aims to provide decision-makers with clear and robust policy-relevant evidence that identifies the connections between climate, and the health and well-being of Indigenous people in the tropical north of Australia. The literature in this area is limited, even though a number of studies indicate that Indigenous people are likely to be disproportionately vulnerable to the future impacts of climate change.
This project is significant in that it is the first major comparative study to fill this research gap: that is to test the hypothesis of disproportionate climate impacts on health, through two separate but related projects in urban and remote Indigenous communities. The study disaggregates data by indigeneity for past climate-morbidity and mortality relationships in order to identify thresholds in the urban setting. These identified thresholds would then be used to project mortality and morbidity of Indigenous people to future climate change, assuming no acclimatisation or adaptive strategies occur. In the remote community sites, in addition to the quantitative analysis, the project will also perform a qualitative study to assess the psychosocial impacts of climate change through the use of semi-structured interviews.
This additional component is important due to the close connections between culture and country for these communities suggesting that biophysical change may impact human health.
The nominated communities have already collaborated with the CIA on related research, and AIA and AIB are Indigenous community leaders from the study sites who will be able to provide valuable intellectual guidance as well as local support.
Overall, we anticipate this research will better enable policy-makers to develop effective adaptation strategies to increase the resilience of Indigenous Australians to the health impacts of climate change.
- 1 of 2