A new study has found "substantial underreporting" in the numbers of deaths caused by environmental crises.
Dr Arnagretta Hunter, of ANU Medical School who co-authored the study, said in a statement: "Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates. 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 research, published in journal The Lancet Planetary Health this month, revealed that over the past 11 years, the number of deaths attributed to excessive natural heat is at least 50 times greater than is recorded on death certificates in Australia.
During that time some 340 deaths in Australia were recorded as excessive heat but experts from The Australian National University (ANU) found that 36,765 could be attributed to the environmental conditions, following statistical analysis. The study indicates that the heat-related mortality rate in Australia is actually around 2 per cent.