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Leading health researcher Fiona Stanley has warned that children will pay the price if more is not done to address climate change.
Speaking before a special address to doctors and medical students yesterday, the Telethon Kids Institute patron said climate change was the biggest global health issue of this century and she worried that sceptics were taking over the debate.
She was speaking at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital at a talk partly organised by Doctors for the Environment Australia.
"I'm not a climate change expert but I do trust the incredible scientific evidence, although no science is ever perfect," she said.
"To expect science to be able to predict something as complex as what is going to happen on this planet, given human activity and other things, is extraordinarily challenging and I think it is pathetic of people to criticise the imprecise nature of the science."
Professor Stanley said the data was very compelling, particularly about the extremes in factors such as temperature.
"It's like child abuse and neglect, we don't actually know if it's on the rise but all the risk factors for it are on the rise," she said. "The way we are living on this planet is unsustainable, and that's why I'm worried for my children, and my grandchildren and their children.
"This is more than about climate change, it's about health and the survival of the planet.
"I'm not a climate change person, but this is our biggest challenge in public health.
"My frustration is that when these issues become politicised, we need science more than anything, and yet scientists are being denigrated."
The majority of climate change effects were going to be on health.
"It will mostly be on our children, because they are more vulnerable because their immune systems are still developing and they'll be exposed to climate change and things like air pollution for much longer over their lives," she said.
Professor Stanley said people could do their bit by eating less meat, driving cars less and using public transport more.
'We need science more than anything, and yet scientists are being denigrated.'"
Professor *Fiona Stanley *