Health professionals welcome Royal Society’s Climate risks report, and highlight importance of risks to health
19 April 2016
Health professionals, in welcoming the Royal Society of NZ’s report today on climate change in New Zealand, are also concerned about the real health risks to New Zealanders from climate change and unhealthy responses to it, and how these may widen health gaps.
"We welcome the Royal Society’s clear call to climate action from six high risk areas: coastal margins, river flooding, freshwater availability, ocean chemistry change, ecosystems threats, and flow-on effects from global climate changes and responses,” says Dr Rhys Jones of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.
“Yet climate change should also be viewed as a global medical emergency and, importantly, addressing climate change can also be an unprecedented opportunity for real gains in health outcomes now.”Read more
OraTaiao submission on Greater Wellington Regional Council’s draft Annual Plan 2016/2017. 18 April 2016.
8 April, 2016
EMBARGOED UNTIL 3:30pm Friday 8 April
Dr Alex Macmillan, co-leader of OraTaiao: NZ Climate & Health Council, and a public health physician specialising in environmental health, gave evidence to the Studholme milk drying plant expansion hearing in Waimate today. She called on ECan to continue to fulfil its ethical and moral obligations despite rules in the RMA disabling them from doing so, and turn down the application.
She explained that the impacts of Fonterra’s proposal to drastically expand milk processing in Waimate District, and use coal to power its new drying facility were complex and deeply inextricable from its impact on NZ greenhouse gas emissions, which the hearing is currently not allowed to consider under rules in the RMA.
“Our most important piece of public health legislation which is designed to ensure the sustainable use of resources currently kneecaps regional Councils so they canot protect their people from the biggest threat facing them. It also pretends that climate change can be separated off from the other big issues that regional councils are facing. This makes the law an ass,” Dr Macmillan said in court today.Read more
5 April, 2016
Leading British health institutions and the Obama administration in the U.S have both brought attention to the health impacts of climate change in this last week.
The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change is a large coalition of prominent British health institutions that aims to encourage stronger action on climate change that protects and promotes health, whilst also reducing the burden on health services.
The UK Alliance is asking the UK Governments to ensure that national energy, health, transport, and agriculture policy unlocks health benefits and reduces climate-health risks.
On Monday the White House released a 300-page scientific report about the health impacts of climate change on American people.Read more
OraTaiao submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee’s Inquiry into the future of New Zealand's mobility. 1 April 2016.
An alliance of some of the UK's most prominent health and medical associations has just been launched, to elevate the health professional's response to climate change.
The Presidents of each of the foundation members have written to the UK Secretary of State for Health with a number of initial policy positions and a request for a meeting, and this has been received positively.
See their website, and more details below.Read more
Monday 21st March 2016
Participants in today’s direct climate change action outside the Petroleum New Zealand conference at Sky City will no doubt be labelled radicals and worse. But they are a group of careful individuals with legitimate concerns. Among them are individual health professionals whose job it is to treat the sick as well as to act on the underlying causes of illness and death.
Most of the time, that action takes institutionally acceptable forms. We spend much of our time communicating with patients and the public about risks to our health, as well as attempting to improve public policy for health by generating convincing evidence, providing advice, and taking part in democratic policy-making processes.
But there are rare occasions when our professional ethics demand we go further. Climate change is now one of them. It’s now more than a quarter century since industry and governments have known about the relationship between burning fossil fuels and the existential threat climate change poses to humans and other species. Continued inaction globally, including in New Zealand, has meant we may already have passed some dangerous thresholds – last month blew global temperature records out of the water. To protect health globally (including here) we must now leave 80% of the fossil fuel reserves we already know about in the ground, safely unburnt.Read more
OraTaiao submission to the Environment Select Committee on the “Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015”. 14 March 2016.
OraTaiao submission to Parliamentary Select Committee: International treaty examination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), 11 March 2016
'Our main concern is: Climate change is a major issue of human health and survival. It requires urgent action globally and in New Zealand (NZ) to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions – particularly the emissions from fossil fuels. The TPPA will hinder the ability of NZ (and the other signatory nations) to pass policy and regulation to achieve this.'
Read full submission here.
OraTaiao submission NZ Emissions Trading Scheme 2015/16 Review - Priority Issues. 24 February 2016.