Media Releases


Our climate, our health: WHO calls for urgent action by NZ health professionals

Today the World Health Organization is calling for health professionals around the world to push for a strong effective climate agreement at the UN Climate Conference in Paris this December. In the WHO’s words, “health professionals have a duty of care to current and future generations”.

Dr Alex Macmillan, co-convenor of OraTaiao, NZ’s Climate and Health Council, says that the WHO claims the Paris Climate Conference can create “the most important health agreement of the century”.

“The WHO states clearly that this is an opportunity to not only address the climate crisis and its health consequences, but to also create large, immediate health gains, reducing costs to health systems and communities”, explains Dr Macmillan.

More details on the WHO’s call can be found at its webpage dedicated to its global change campaign at http://www.who.int/globalchange/global-campaign/en/

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Cross-party climate action is essential health investment

“New Zealand is missing out on too many health opportunities by leaving real climate planning to just a couple of political parties” says Dr Alex Macmillan, co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.

Today the Green Party has launched ‘Yes we can! A plan for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions’, which demonstrates how New Zealand could achieve a 40% reduction in climate pollution by 2030 in an affordable way.  The Council would like to see strong climate leadership shared by all political parties.

“As world-leading medical journal The Lancet recently reported, a business-as-usual approach to climate change will undo the important health and life expectancy gains of the last half century.  The Lancet also described tackling climate change as potentially the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century” says Dr Macmillan.

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Health professionals say Dutch court ruling on climate change 'duty of care' relevant to NZ

In a world first, the Dutch court has ordered the state to reduce its climate-changing emissions by 25% (on 1990 levels) in the next five years, to protect its people from climate change.

The law suit was brought to the courts by the Urgenda Foundation, backed by 900 citizens.

The court ruled that because of the great risks posed by climate change, the State has a ‘duty of care’ to take stronger action to reduce climate change (mitigation). 

This ruling comes in the same week as a leading international medical journal The Lancet has reconfirmed climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.

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Count human health in your climate calculations’, health groups tell Ministers

The government may be asking for public input on New Zealand's planned action to address climate change in the lead-up to global negotiations this year in Paris, but health is left out of the equation, health groups say.

Doctors, nurses, public health professionals and medical students today expressed alarm about the government’s scrambled public consultation on New Zealand’s post-2020 climate contribution.

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Doctors warn TPPA takes away our climate protection tools

OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council warns that negotiations over the Trans- Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) threaten New Zealand’s ability to protect our climate and health.

The Council’s concerns mirror today’s publication of an open letter to the Prime Minister

The biggest threat is the ‘Investor State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) provisions. This mechanism allows overseas companies, including fossil fuel companies, to sue our Government if any local law changes might substantially affect their value or profits.

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Urgent action on climate change is a health win-win

New Zealand can make huge gains for health, now and in the future, by committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A Special Article on climate change and health is published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal. The article clearly demonstrates that rather than being an environmental issue, climate change is fundamentally an issue about people’s survival and their health and wellbeing.

As well as describing risks to the health of New Zealanders from climate change, the paper also highlights opportunities for health and fairness.

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Health professionals say TPPA risks climate and health protection

OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council warns that negotiations over the TransPacific
Partnership Agreement (TPPA) threaten New Zealand’s ability to protect our climate and
health.

The Council’s ongoing concerns are voiced in an article in NZ Doctor online today, together with 9
other health professional groups representing doctors, nurses, midwives, medical students,
academics and health promoters.

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Experts highlight stark climate-health risks at NZ population health congress

Climate change and health discussions have featured strongly on day three of the NZ Population Health Congress in Auckland.

Professor Kirk Smith, a lead author on the health chapter in the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (AR5), spoke in a plenary session, stressing our responsibility to protect the babies born today from the climate-health impacts that will result from our current business-as usual greenhouse gas (GHG) trajectory.

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Health board wins award for climate and environmental action

The Waitemata District Health Board has won an award for ‘Leadership in Environmental Sustainability by a Health Sector Organisation’ at this week’s Population Health Congress in Auckland.

The award, sponsored by OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council, recognises climate change as a serious and urgent health issue, and commends Waitemata District Health Board for its efforts to improve environmental sustainability and to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint.

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NZ ‘call to action’ highlights climate change as mainstream health issue

A joint Call to Action on Climate Change and Health for the incoming government by ten New Zealand health organisations was formally released today in the New Zealand Medical Journal, following a week of health and civil society action at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.

The summit featured a strong contingent of health leaders, including the US Surgeon General, Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet medical journal, and the World Health Organization, as well as being attended by many heads of state.

 

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