International treaty examination of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
OraTaiao submission, 18 April 2018
'Climate change is a major threat to human health and ultimately to human survival. It worsens health inequities. It requires urgent action globally and in New Zealand to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions – particularly from fossil fuels.
'The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will create a more challenging legal environment for New Zealand (and other signatory nations) to pass the policy and regulatory changes necessary to achieve this.'
Read the submission here (PDF).
See links below for OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council's briefings from January 2018:
- Briefing to Minister Shaw (Minister for Climate Change Issues)
- Briefing to Minister Genter (Associate Minister of Health, Climate Change and Health)
Editorial on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TransPacific Partnership by Oliver Hailes, Rhys Jones, David Menkes, Joshua Freeman, Erik Monastery. The New Zealand Medical Journal 9th March 2018, Volume 131 Number 1471. Read here.
NZ Government commitment to CPTPP without independent assessment of health and climate change impacts would be grossly negligent
26 January 2018
Health professionals remain concerned that the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will obstruct action to address major 21stcentury health threats such as climate change.
Without decisive action, the impacts of climate change on health in the coming decades will be serious and far-reaching. These impacts have been described clearly in a recent report published by the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Urgent action is therefore needed to reduce future impacts on health, and to take advantage of the enormous opportunities to improve New Zealanders’ health right here and now. This includes rapidly transitioning our economies to renewable energy.Read more
OraTaiao submission, 19 January 2018
'OraTaiao supports LGWM’s guiding principles developed from 2017 public consultation. But these principles do not appear to be sufficiently defined, nor prioritised, to actually guide scenario development and evaluation. We hope our submission encourages LGWM’s ‘process principles’ to:
The UN Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) is underway in Bonn, Germany.
Emily Rushton, a OraTaiao member, is at COP23 and this is her first blog.
31 October 2017
New research shows that climate change is already damaging the health of millions of people and is a looming global health emergency. These are the conclusions of a joint reportfrom The Lancet Countdown, an international research collaboration that provides a global overview of the relationship between public health and climate change.
Dr Rhys Jones, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council, says the report should prompt widespread, urgent action. “It shows that the effects of climate change on human health are undeniable and potentially irreversible.”
New Zealand is not immune to the threats posed by climate change, as highlighted in a recent Royal Society of New Zealand report, Human Health Impacts of Climate Change for New Zealand.Read more
26 October 2017
Health professionals say a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand should be a wake-up call about the wide-ranging health impacts of climate change.
The report, Human Health Impacts of Climate Change for New Zealand, brings together an extensive body of evidence, highlighting the profound implications of climate change for health and quality of life.Read more
20 September 2017
Health professionals are welcoming the recent move by Medical Assurance Society (MAS) to divest from fossil fuels, saying it shows strong leadership for a healthy climate future.
The society has announced that, from September 14, their KiwiSaver and Retirement Savings Plans will no longer invest in fossil fuels, as well as armaments and tobacco. This policy will also apply to MAS reserves, the money MAS holds to invest for the future and to pay insurance claims.
According to MAS, this represents more than $1.4 billion of investment funds, which “will be playing their part for global health and wellbeing.”Read more
2017 Political Party Scorecard on Climate Change and Health
Health starts not in the doctor’s office or the hospital, but with clean air and water and a safe climate. Well-designed climate action is a huge opportunity to address some of New Zealand’s biggest problems of health and fairness, but continued inaction is the biggest threat to population health of the 21st century.
We asked political Parties about their policies on climate change and interactions with health. Their responses and information on the Parties’ websites were rated by a group of climate change and health experts across seven areas.
The results reveal two things. When comparing parties, the Greens score highest, followed by Labour, and a number of other parties (Opportunities, Mana, Māori) have good policies in some areas. All other parties have policies that are modest or non-existent. The other key feature is that, on the policies available at the time, none of the parties is showing sufficient ambition for a healthy climate future.
Party rankings are detailed below. OraTaiao emphasises that a vote for climate is a vote for health.Read more
Watch recordings and presentations from the Sustainable Healthcare in Aotearoa-NZ Forum, "Human health relies on a healthy planet - health care without harm?", Wellington, 24th Nov 2017:
Introduction and Mihi - Dr Rhys Jones, Dr Alex Macmillan, Dr David Galler Presentation
The Big Picture Context Around Climate Action & Sustainability in the Health Sector - Prof Sir Muir Gray Presentation
Impacts of Climate Change in NZ and the Deep South National Science Challenge - Dr Mike Williams Presentation
Implications for Health Effects of Climate Change in NZ and for Health Sector Adaptation - Dr Alex Macmillan Presentation
Co-benefits of Climate Action & Sustainability in the Health Sector - Dr Hayley Bennett Presentation
Getting Started with DHB Sustainability - Margriet Geesink - Presentation
Reducing the Climate Change Impact of Anaesthesia - Dr Rob Burrell - Presentation
Climate Smart Hospital Redevelopment - Dr Matt Jenks - Presentation
DHB Travel Planning - Valentino Luna-Hernandez - Presentation
Primary Care Climate and Sustainability Action - Dr Rebecca Randerson - Presentation
Waitakere Hospital Woodford Gardens - William Van Ausdal - Powerpoint
Preparing for the Health Impacts of Climate Change - Dr Richard Jaine - Presentation
Sustainability Impacts of Our Daily Clinical Decisions - Dr Forbes McGain - Presentation
Successes in DHB Sustainability Report - Dr Gay Keating - Presentation
Measuring the Success of Climate and Sustainability Action in DHBs - Debbie Wilson - Presentation
Tips for Getting DHB Leadership on Board - Dr David Galler - Presentation
NZ Green Building Council Green Star Performance Tool for Assessing Health Buildings - Sam Archer - Presentation
Energy Efficiency in the Health Sector - Graham Dray - Presentation
Address by Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter
Closing/Whakamutunga - Dr Rhys Jones - Presentation
See Flyer here
DRAFT PROGRAMMERead more
DHB Successes in Environmental Sustainability. A Report to Community and Public Health Canterbury District Health Board, by Dr Gay Keating.
27 June 2017
New Zealanders’ health is at stake in a court case challenging the government over its failure to tackle climate change. Law student Sarah Thomson is taking on the Minister for Climate Change Issues, arguing that New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target is illegal.
As part of the global Paris Climate Agreement, our government chose a weak target of reducing climate-damaging emissions by 11% (below 1990 levels) by 2030. It plans to achieve this mostly by paying other countries to take action.
Ms Thomson’s case argues that the government’s analysis in setting this target was illogically one-sided. Costs of emissions-reduction action were counted, but the wider gains from climate action and the very real costs of climate changes were ignored.Read more
OraTaiao submission, 31 March 2017
'Climate changes fundamentally threaten human health and wellbeing; yet well-designed climate action can mean greater health and fairness in both the short and longer term. Transport is integral to this. There are close links between transport, climate and health, where eg.
- active and sustainable modes of transport (such as walking and cycling) positively affect health;
- the current reliance on private motor vehicle transport has negative impacts on health through greenhouse gas emissions, road traffic crashes, air and noise pollution and increased sedentary time.
'This submission relates to the GPS2018 and: acting on climate change, prioritising active transport, prioritising public transport, the opportunity costs of poorly cost-effective roading choices including lost health gains, and the importance of making transport user hierarchies and the NZ Health Strategy integral to GPS2018's Strategic direction and Objectives.'
Read the submission here (PDF).
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.Read more
17 November 2016
Māori health leader speaks about climate change and the right to health at COP22
World leaders are meeting in Marrakesh to bring to life the promises made to limit climate change in the Paris Agreement. Earlier this week Rhys Jones, a Māori doctor and co-convenor of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council, called for climate action that protects human rights, especially indigenous rights, children’s rights and the right to health.
Dr Jones is in Morocco at COP22 participating in an event hosted by the World Health Organization and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.Read more
12 November 2016
Despite New Zealand being a signatory to the new Paris climate agreement, the Ministry of Health is considering the use of coal in Christchurch Hospital’s boiler. OraTaiao, the New Zealand Climate and Health Council and the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) say to do so would be a mistake for the climate and for health. Although coal burning may achieve short-term financial savings, it is a false economy. Coal burning is inconsistent with the Ministry’s legislated responsibility to protect health.
OraTaiao and the NZMSA are jointly urging the Ministry to support Christchurch Hospital’s switch to lower emission wood waste rather than coal.Read more
29 January 2017
“Take care as the heat rises” advises Dr Alex Macmillan,co-convenor of OraTaiao, The NZ Climate and Health Council, “especially if you’re elderly, pregnant, or already have a medical condition. Babies and children are also more at risk with rising heat, while healthy adults who work outdoors are also especially vulnerable.”
“If there are people in your care, make sure they can keep cool enough. This includes at work, school, early childhood centres, rest homes, prisons, sporting and cultural events,” says Dr Macmillan.Read more