10 April 2017
Health professionals congratulate Generation Zero on today’s Zero Carbon Act campaign launch.
The Act is designed to reduce New Zealand’s long-lived greenhouse gas emissions to net zero within a generation. This means by 2050 our dangerous climate pollution will have been reduced enough to be completely absorbed by increased forests.
The Zero Carbon Act – modelled on the UK’s successful Climate Change Act passed by a conservative-led government in 2008 – will bind future governments to genuine action that protects New Zealand.
“As health professionals, we know that climate change is a public health emergency,” says Dr Rhys Jones of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council.
“This Zero Carbon Act is an essential prescription for New Zealand’s future health – and deserves wide public and cross-party political support.
“The UK Climate Change Act has led to real climate action. For example, the UK’s National Health Service has reduced emissions by 11% since 2007, despite an 18% increase in healthcare activity,” says Dr Jones.
The Zero Carbon Act will ensure New Zealand’s transition to zero carbon recognises social impact and intergenerational equity.
“In choosing how we act on climate change, health and fairness matter,” says Dr Jones.
“We know that it is possible to reduce carbon emissions in ways that are fair, honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and improve health in the short and long term. This will mean from the beginning, working in partnership with Māori and ensuring genuine inclusion of Pacific peoples and others who will be most affected by climate change.
“For example, rapid moves to more walking, cycling and public transport will cut transport emissions, reduce air pollution, and boost physical activity – reducing the burden of obesity, diabetes, heart and lung disease, and cancer,” says Dr Jones.
“In addition, well-planned climate action can make New Zealand homes healthier and cheaper to warm and cool.
“Action to support New Zealand’s most vulnerable populations must be a priority, as these groups are being hit first and worst as our climate changes.
“Last year New Zealand ratified the Paris Climate Agreement’s net zero future. This year we need cross-party support for a Zero Carbon Act to make sure we get there.”
Media Spokesperson: Dr Rhys Jones, Ph. 021 411 743
Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) ([email protected]) is a Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, and Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.
OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council (OraTaiao, The Council) is an incorporated society of over 500 health professionals calling for urgent and fair climate action. We know that climate changes fundamentally threaten human health and wellbeing – and that well-designed climate action can mean greater health and fairness now and in the longer term. Within its membership, OraTaiao has some of the world’s leading climate-health experts. We link with international climate-health organisations internationally, plus other New Zealand health groups. See more at www.orataiao.org.nz/
NZ-specific climate-health information:
‘Health and equity impacts of climate change in Aotearoa-New Zealand, and health gains from climate action’. www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2014/vol-127-no-1406/6366
About the Zero Carbon Act campaign: http://zerocarbonact.nz/