November 2021 Newsletter Pānui

November 2021 Newsletter Pānui

Kia ora 

The climate space has been hugely busy this year with an enormous amount of government consultations and increased media interest, and November brings three important events. As I write, COP26 is in its second week. OraTaiao is disappointed with our government’s inadequate and unambitious updated NDC offer, and particularly with the accounting tricks used to make it seem more impressive than it is. We will await the final outcomes of the conference with interest.

Domestically the government’s delayed draft Emissions Reduction Plan has been published with feedback requested before the end of the month. OraTaiao will make a submission, and individual submissions are recommended as well. Finally, and no less importantly, the OraTaiao AGM will be held via Zoom on the 29th of November. Please make the time to attend, and if you would like to join our executive board team contact us before the 15th. We look forward to seeing you there!

Ngā mihi nui, Dermot,
Co-convenor, OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council




November 2021 Newsletter


Update on OraTaiao activities
National happenings
International news
Good news, interesting links, books

Update on OraTaiao activities

Health organisations ask PM to strengthen Aotearoa’s climate commitment
OraTaiao and six other health professional organisations wrote to the Prime Minister ahead of the international climate conference COP26. We called for a huge increase in Aotearoa’s international climate contribution, and asked to keep the capacity to limit global warming within a humanly adaptable 1.5 degrees. See the letter here.

OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey told Newsroom, “As a health crisis, climate change absolutely dwarfs Covid – even the absolute worst-case scenario for Covid is a fraction of what climate change will cause.” And OraTaiao board member Dr George Laking wrote in the Spinoff, “Many people are used to thinking of health as cancer and other chronic conditions. But the things that truly decide health are such basic matters as a food supply and political stability, that in turn depend on the environment."

We received a reply to our letter from Climate Change Minister James Shaw, but not from the Prime Minister, and the government’s updated contributions to global efforts remain weak.  Dr Coffey says, "New Zealand’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution falls far short of one that takes account of our historical emissions and position as a wealthy nation. We have ongoing concerns that health and wellbeing are nowhere to be seen in this discussion, and the recommendations of the World Health Organisation in their COP26 Special Report have not been adopted.”

In order to support indigenous voices at COP26, OraTaiao made a donation to the indigenous youth group, Te Ara Whatu. India Logan-Riley from the group spoke at the opening of the conference. Watch here.

A particularly big thanks to OraTaiao members Dr Penelope Milson and Liz Springford for their work in helping to form OraTaiao’s position on COP26.

Making transport better for health
In this last month OraTaiao made two transport related emissions including recommending strengthening a bill about low-emissions vehicles, and supporting Auckland Transport’s proposal to lower speed limits in suburbs near schools.

Image source: Auckland Transport

Would you like to join OraTaiao’s executive board?
We are calling for nominations to OraTaiao’s executive board and are particularly keen to hear from Māori or Pasifika members. If you are interested or have any questions please contact Dermot ([email protected]) or our secretary Richard Jaine ([email protected]). See our present exec board here. The nominations are open until 5pm, 15 November.

And please join us at our Annual General Meeting on 7.30pm on Monday 29 November. We’d love to have as many members attending as possible. Look out for an email closer to the time.

Student placement in OraTaiao’s food system working group
Ingrid Mulder has joined OraTaiao’s food systems working group for 20 hours per week to support OraTaiao’s call for climate action. She will be looking at nutrition policies and contribute to OraTaiao’s healthy and sustainable food policy, submissions, position statements, and resources. This work will form part of Ingrid’s course work for her Masters in nutrition at the University of Otago.

Ingrid Mulder

If you are interested in joining the food systems working group or volunteering with OraTaiao then please send an email to [email protected]

Update from Sustainable Healthcare Aotearoa 
The recently renamed Sustainable Healthcare Aotearoa – SHA - (previously the SHSNN) is working towards making its structure more formal by voting in three co-chairs and looking at its terms and how it is organised. SHA is also providing feedback to the Carbon Neutral Government Programme most recently commenting on the proposal to mandate carbon offsetting by recommending insetting as a mode to invest in decarbonisation of the state sector. 

SHA are prioritising which other consultations to put resources towards with the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan and the Waste Strategy and updated waste legislation out for consultation currently. It has been a busy year for the network, with hopes that next year will bring more alignment as we move towards the adoption of Health NZ. The main contacts at SHA for OraTaiao are Dr Matthew Jenks and Vicktoria Blake.

Connect with us on social media
Look us up on LinkedIn and follow us! We have a new page thanks to Summer Wright, and we continue to be active on Twitter with posts by Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey.

National happenings

Have a say on the government's 15 year plan to reduce NZ-Aotearoa's emissions
The government is consulting on its first emission reduction plan. This plan will set direction for climate action in the next 15 years, by implementing policies and strategies for sectors including transport, energy, waste and f-gases, building and construction, and agriculture and forestry. Consultation closes on 24 November.

Research report assesses climate risks for Māori
A multidisciplinary Māori research team has produced a report using a novel kaupapa Māori risk assessment approach to climate change to synthesise the latest research and guidance on observed and projected climate change impacts on whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori business. The report includes a section on health. Listen here to a discussion with authors of the report including OraTaiao member Dr Rhys Jones. 

Aotearoa- NZ’s biggest climate polluters revealed
Fonterra, Z-energy and Silver Fern Farms report some of the highest emissions.

Image source: Stuff news

International news

WHO makes ten recommendations for healthy and equitable COP26
The World Health Organisation produced a special report ahead of COP26. It sets out priority actions from the global health community to governments and policy makers. See here.

How to phase out fossil fuels in an equitable way
A civil society equity review, published this month, looks at a fair share phase out of fossil fuels. It says, “Measures to address today’s crisis must be far-reaching and drive systemic changes in the way our societies and economies function. The climate crisis can only be successfully tackled by ensuring and enabling a globally just transition. We must also address underlying structural inequities relating to trade, international debt, and the perverse fact that overall financial flows in the order of USD 2 trillion per year pass from the Global South to the Global North. Decent work, quality jobs, well-being, sufficiency and equity must guide the transition to a fossil fuel-free future.” The report was produced by Civil Society Review and endorsed by the New Zealand Climate Action Network of which OraTaiao is a member. 

New Zealand makes weak climate commitments at COP26
Aotearoa-NZ’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions fell short of being healthy or fair. See an analysis in Stuff and in the NZ Herald.

Thousands of people marched in the UK as part of the COP26 Coalition Global Day of Action For Climate Justice on 6 Nov. 

Good news, interesting links, books

Feeling ‘burnt out’ by the climate crisis?
On 16 November, the Climate and Health Alliance is offering an interactive webinar to explore feelings and coping strategies. See here.


Newsletter written by Julia Crosfield.

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