This section has our latest media work (including media releases, opinion editorials, radio and television interviews, and letters to the editor), as well as the latest submissions, publications, briefing papers and position statements.

To access older items, please click on the relevant links above. Media enquiries, see contact us.


Protecting and promoting health in the Paris climate agreement

Over the last 12 hours, the World Health Organization and members of the Global Climate and Health Alliance urge negotiators to strengthen health wording in the Paris Agreement.

A new draft text of the Paris climate agreement was released yesterday. Over the past 10 days, countries have worked co-operatively to produce a strong draft agreement to limit emissions. Now the Ministers are back to sort out the more than 900 options for wording – the devil is in the detail.

The global health community are here in force, making their voices heard about the risk that climate change poses for people’s health in low, middle and high income countries, as well as the importance of accounting for health costs and benefits in committing to climate action. Well designed climate action would reduce the global burden of disease from a variety of illnesses, including lung disease, obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, mental illness, and road injuries.

The importance of health was recognised early on in the agreement, with language about protecting health, promoting health and health benefits of climate action scattered throughout the text.

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Blog from our co-convenor in Paris

Blog Paris Numero 1 - OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Alex Macmillan Reports from Paris

Almost before I begin this it will be out of date. Things are moving fast in COP21 and it’s impossible to stay current in such fluid negotiations.

I arrived last Friday for the Climate and Health Summit, organised by the Global Climate and Health Alliance, alongside WHO. OraTaiao had a prime stand – the first thing people saw as they came out of the auditorium was our banner on the wall. There was a lot of interest in our journal articles which disappeared fast and generated lots of conversation.  In particular, the article linking human rights, climate change and hauora Māori began quite a few discussions about how health professionals might link human rights to hold governments accountable on climate action.

More than 300 people attended the summit and what was most heartening were the number of non-health people there, including representatives of local government, like the Deputy Mayor of Paris, and of non-health sectors of national government. John Vidal, Environment reporter for the Guardian, chaired the day. Although he was frustrated by the lateness with which health had coalesced around climate change, he was heartened by the positive action taking place. He contrasted the mood within the negotiations of “We won’t”, with the mood at the climate and health summit of “We can”.

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Submission on Update of the NZ Health Strategy

OraTaiao submission on the Update of the NZ Health Strategy. December 2015.

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Global health call to action on climate change

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On the 5th of December 2015, an unprecedented alliance of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from every part of the health sector has come together calling on governments to reach a strong agreement at the UN climate negotiations that protects the health of patients and the public. Together, at the Annual Health and Climate Summit in Paris, they have announced the signatories of declarations representing over 1,700 health organizations, 8,200 hospitals and health facilities, and 13 million health professionals, bringing the global medical consensus on climate change to a level never seen before.

The declarations call for urgent action by governments to protect and promote health, and represents a firm commitment by health professionals to engage in the response to climate change.

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TV One News People's Climate March 28th Nov

TV One News talks to OraTaiao co-convenor Dr Rhys Jones (and others) at the historic People's Climate March in Auckland.

Watch here.

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Op Ed in NZ Herald, 27 Nov 2015

TPP must not block the path to healthy climate action. Drs Alex Macmillan and Rhys Jones. New Zealand Herald, 27 Nov 2015

The path towards a healthy climate will be a rocky one in the coming year. December's global negotiations in Paris are a crucial crossroads for choosing between bold new routes to health through well-designed climate action or continuing to threaten human survival and wellbeing. Meanwhile, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is about to add another giant obstacle to progress.

More here.

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Health professionals march for healthy climate solutions

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Health professionals will be among thousands of New Zealanders out on the streets this weekend calling for solutions to climate change. The NZ-wide marches are part of thousands of People’s Climate events around the world – ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit starting this Monday in Paris.

“Taking action on climate change could be the greatest health opportunity of the 21st century, and it’s our professional responsibility to ensure we don’t miss this opportunity,” says Dr Rhys Jones, co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.

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OraTaiao is coordinating health people & friends/families for the People's Climate Marches 2015

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OraTaiao is coordinating groups of health people & friends/families to walk together in ten of 34 People's Climate Marches around NZ this weekend.

Our NZ marches will be the first of more than 2000 world-wide before the UN Climate Summit in Paris starts this Monday.

​This is the time to gather your family, friends, colleagues, organisations...and make history in the biggest climate marches ever. Wear white and dress up with white coats and stethoscopes if you like. 

Share your photos and comments on social media – tag in @OraTaiao so we can retweet, share on Facebook – and share with [email protected] so we can celebrate healthy climate action around NZ.

Photos from 28th Nov: Auckland, Hastings, Wellington, Christchurch, Rotorua

 

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore Quote, Nov 2015 (physician and immediate past president of the UK Royal College of Physicians)

“Doctors [and all other health professionals] need look no further than the clear evidence that what is good for the climate is also good for their patients’ health to give them a clear mandate for speaking out.  We remain respected and trusted within our communities and have a responsibility to make clear to them the urgency and enormity of the challenge to mitigate the impact of climate change.  What better way to do this than by marching".

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Fast, fair climate action crucial for health and equity

Editorial in the NZ Medical Journal by Dr Scott Metcalfe on behalf of OraTaiao and the NZ College of Public Health Medicine.  Read here.

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Health groups call for fast, fair climate action

 

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Health groups have come out today in an editorial (freely available online) in the New Zealand Medical Journal, highlighting serious health disparities as a result of climate change. They state that urgent action, based on a fair approach to reducing global climate emissions, is essential for health and equity.

The editorial was written by Dr Scott Metcalfe, for the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine and OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.

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