The longer we delay, the more serious the outcome. Dr Jamie Hosking and Dr Graeme Lindsay. Dominion Post 10 December 2009.
Imagine this scenario - a doctor sees a patient who has all the signs of pneumonia, a serious disease that can kill if not treated quickly. The doctor knows that the patient is likely to have pneumonia, but cannot be sure which germ is causing it without doing more tests - the results of which may take days to come back. What should this doctor do?
Here's what doctors do in this situation - they start treatment anyway, as soon as they can. The probable cause is known, and quick action is needed. In the unlikely event that the tests come back negative, the treatment can always be stopped. But if treatment is delayed, it could be fatal for the patient.
The parallels with climate change are obvious. There is much evidence of a serious problem, yet we have still not taken effective steps to treat the problem.
The longer we delay, the more serious the outcome. And in this case, the "patient" is all of us - and our children, and their children too.
Perhaps this explains why doctors and other health professionals are at the forefront of those calling for rapid action on climate change.