29 November 2018
A newly released report highlights that climate change poses an unacceptably high level of risk for the health of populations around the world.
The 2018 Lancet Countdown report, released today ahead of the international climate change negotiations, was jointly authored by leading doctors, academics and policy professionals from 27 organisations. It tracks the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the associated health threats and opportunities.
“The report shows that our lack of progress threatens both human lives and the viability of national health systems they depend on,” says Dr Rhys Jones, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council.Read more
Article on State of Public Health lecture given by Co-convenors Dr Alexandra Macmillan and Dr Rhys Jones. Read here.
8 October 2018
Health professionals are intensifying calls for urgent emissions reduction in response to a report released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, is the most comprehensive scientific assessment ever made of climate change. The report says 1.5°C is possible, but rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society are now needed. “The report makes it very clear that we must act urgently to keep global warming under 1.5°C for the sake of our health,” says Dr Alex Macmillan, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council.Read more
28 September 2018
OraTaiao welcomes the government’s amendment bill to stop offering new oil permits as a sound decision for NZ’s economy and our health. This bill is a step in the right direction to protect the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders and meet our Paris obligations.
“It’s very clear that almost all the oil, gas and coal we already know about needs to stay in the ground - they can’t be burnt because of the implications for climate change and human health. This makes further exploration foolish,” said Dr Alex Macmillan, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council after the introduction of the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill on Monday.Read more
OraTaiao submission, 24 September 2018
'We support the government’s intention to act with urgency and improve the ETS. We are, however, concerned by the highly technical nature of the consultation documents. We consider that currently, input is severely constrained from those who will bear not only the impacts of climate change, but also the impacts of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies. The ETS is complex, but because of the far-reaching implications for New Zealanders, it’s essential that every effort is madeto widen this discussion. We consider it essential that there is a clear statement of the principles upon which the ETS is based, and that this is developed with due democratic process.
'Our greatest concerns are firstly, that the ETS continues to fail to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions because not all sectors are included, and/or because there is a weak pricingmechanism and/or there is no “sinking lid” on the number of units being auctioned. Secondly, weare concerned that the ETS will increase social and health inequities – this issue can be mitigated through good recycling of revenue to support a low-carbon transition for low-income, Māori andPacific households. Thirdly, we are concerned about corruption in the ETS process, through the purchasing of overseas credits.'
Read full submission here (PDF).
Government climate and health equity priorities must prompt a deeper re-think of health and healthcare for the 21st century
Editorial by Dr Alex Macmillan and Dr Rhys Jones. The New Zealand Medical Journal 31 August 2018, Vol 131 No 1481. Read here.
Pro-equity climate change and environmental sustainability action by district health boards in Aotearoa/New Zealand
Article by Dr Hayley Bennett and Dr Paula King. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 31 August 2018, Vol 131 Number 1481. Read here.
Liz Springford letter. Discusses OECD report on the economic consequences of climate change. The Dominion Post, 31 July 2018.
Interview with Dr Rhys Jones and anaesthetist Dr Matthew Jenks. New Zealand Anaesthesia: The Magazine of the NZ Society of Anaesthetists, August 2018. Read here.
9 August 2018
A report released this week on the dangers of heading towards “Hothouse Earth” makes it clear that climate change is now a public health emergency.
'Just as we would react to the threat of pandemic, we need to speed up our efforts to tackle emissions and protect health,' says Dr Rhys Jones, Co-convenor of OraTaio: The NZ Climate and Health Council.
The report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, states, 'the Earth System may be approaching a planetary threshold that could lock in a continuing, rapid pathway towards much hotter conditions — Hothouse Earth.'Read more
OraTaiao submission, 19 July 2018
'We welcome the Bill, which is not just crucial to reducing New Zealand emissions, but is also some of the most important health legislation of our generation. OraTaiao, alongside other experts in climate change and health, considers that tackling climate change is potentially the greatest global health opportunity this century. With that in mind, our submission is focused on the potential health gains and the other co-benefits from New Zealand reducing its emissions.'
The submission also states: 'A healthy Zero Carbon Act is an essential prescription for New Zealand’s health and well-being, and we strongly support it. Health workers call for a Zero Carbon Act that’s fast, fair, firm andfounded on Te Tiriti – with health at its heart. In summary, we want the target of net zero emissions across all greenhouse gases by 2040 set in law now.'
Read full submission here (PDF).
Dr Andrea Forde, Dr Scott Metcalfe, and policy analyst Liz Springford, set out the importance of tackling climate change. Read here.
OraTaiao submission, 27 July 2018
OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council thanks the Medical Council of New Zealand for the opportunity to have input into the Draft revised statement on safe practice in an environment of resource limitation.
In summary, we consider the proposed revisions need to specifically address the sustainable use of resources in healthcare as part of professional medical practice.
Read full submission here (PDF).
6 July 2018
Today members of 18 leading health professional organisations met with the Minister for Climate Change, Hon. James Shaw, to add their collective voices of support for a strong Zero Carbon Act.
The meeting, hosted by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, included organisations representing tens of thousands of nurses, doctors and other health professionals. Attendees were united in their call for decisive action on climate change to protect and improve health and fairness for New Zealanders.
“There is a strong consensus among health professionals that NZ needs a robust law to get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions,” says Dr Rhys Jones, co-convenor of OraTaiao, the NZ Climate & Health Council.Read more
29 June 2018
The latest reported draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C shows growing certainty that 2°C of warming is a dangerous step for humanity, and for the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Differences between global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C are “substantial” – damaging to communities, economies and ecosystems across the world.
As well as cutting carbon dioxide to net zero, rapid reductions in other gases, "particularly methane", are demanded by the UN report. The report also calls for "more emphasis on efforts to cut emissions before 2030". The Zero Carbon Bill will need to be further strengthened to ensure it is responding to the science.Read more
OraTaiao submission, 13 June 2018
'OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council welcomes the draft Report from the Productivity Commission on achieving a low-emissions economy for New Zealand. We recognise that the recommendation of the Commission to include emissions from agriculture in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a significant step in transitioning the NZ economy, however we consider that the target should be to a net zero emissions future with accelerated timelines.'
OraTaiao also propose some, 'principles by means of which the process to achieve net zero may be implemented. These include a more robust acknowledgement of the substantial co-benefits to health from well-designed reduction and mitigation, adherence to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and a commitment to address issues of inequities within New Zealand society.'
Recommendations are summarised in the submission.
7 June 2018
Health professionals welcome today’s public consultation launch for the Zero Carbon Bill, saying it is crucial for New Zealanders’ health. However, they warn that the Bill will need to be seriously strengthened for faster, fairer protection of a healthy climate.
The Bill (modelled on the UK’s successful Climate Change Act 2008), proposes a consistent policy framework for NZ to reach net zero climate pollution in the coming decades. This is vital for protecting human health and wellbeing, in the context of global action.Read more
Opinion piece by Rebecca Sinclair in Nursing Review, Issue 3. Read here (PDF).
Article by Rebecca Sinclair in Te Puawai: The Professional Update for Registered Nurses, May 2018. Read here (PDF).
OraTaiao submission on Wellington City Council Long Term Plan (WCC LTP) 2018-2028. 15 May 2018.