web analytics

Health professionals support legal challenge against government’s climate policy

Written By: - Date published: 6:19 am, June 28th, 2017 - 4 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, Environment, health, science, sustainability - Tags: , , , , ,

Press release from Ora Taiao the NZ Climate and Health Council

Posted by Rhys Jones 34sc on June 27, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE
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.

“From a health perspective alone, Ms Thomson’s case is compelling,” says Dr Rhys Jones of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council. “Climate change is a medical emergency – and our government’s inaction threatens New Zealanders’ wellbeing, both now and into the future.”

There are two critical aspects to this issue. First, New Zealand must play its part in global efforts to reduce emissions – to limit warming and protect against the most serious impacts of climate change.

“New Zealand’s target is clearly inadequate,” says Dr Jones. “Our emissions per person are amongst the highest in the world – and we can hardly demand big emitters like China, the US and India do more to protect us if we won’t do our fair share.”

The other major aspect relates to our shorter-term interests. “If we focused on doing what’s best for New Zealanders, we would also choose much larger and more urgent cuts in emissions,” says Dr Jones. “That’s because well-planned climate action leads to better health.”

“For example, we know that energy-efficient homes are healthier, protecting our climate and freeing up hospital beds. Rapid moves to more walking, cycling and public transport will cut transport emissions, reduce air pollution, and boost physical activity – reducing the burden of diabetes, heart and lung disease, and cancer. If we do these things right, we can also reduce social and health inequities.”

“The government’s blinkered approach to climate change is already harming New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing,” says Dr Jones. “As health professionals calling for a healthier, fairer New Zealand, we strongly support this important legal climate challenge.”

Media Spokesperson: Dr Rhys Jones, Ph. 021 411 743

Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) (rg.jones@auckland.ac.nz) is a Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, and Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.

Background

OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council (OraTaiao, The Council) is an incorporated society of over 500 health professionals calling for urgent and fair climate action. We know that climate changes fundamentally threaten human health and wellbeing – and that well-designed climate action can mean greater health and fairness now and in the longer term. Within its membership, OraTaiao has some of the world’s leading climate-health experts. We link with international climate-health organisations internationally, plus other New Zealand health groups. See more at www.orataiao.org.nz/

Background about the case:

“Why I’m taking the NZ government to court”, Sarah Thomson, The Spinoff, 16 June 2017.
https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/16-06-2017/why-im-taking-the-nz-government-to-court/

NZ-specific climate-health information:

‘Health and equity impacts of climate change in Aotearoa-New Zealand, and health gains from climate action’. www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2014/vol-127-no-1406/6366

_____________________________________________________________

Moderator note – zero tolerance for climate change denial in comments. Bans will be given without warning. 

4 comments on “Health professionals support legal challenge against government’s climate policy ”

  1. Bill 1

    New Zealanders’ health is at stake…

    Phew! Thankfully, I’m not a New Zealander and so should be right. Call it ‘adaptation’. 😉

    On a more serious note, I hope this court case blows the debate wide open and right into the mainstream. I admit to not holding my breath mind. I suspect there will be some reporting and the verdict will be reported too.

    But I strongly suspect that what will be entirely absent is any analysis on the actual pro’s and cons of her case or those of the defence.

    • weka 1.1

      I was going to add in the defence’s case points but decided that in the face of potential catastrophic climate change then talking about idiocy, denial and specious arguments was a diversion we can’t afford 😉 (my time is better spent on things I can write about with confidence, someone else is welcome to have a crack at it, it’s pretty easy to pull apart).

      I was less interested in an analysis of the pros and cons of her case (esp the maths 😉 ) than I was in the value of her shifting the debate that much further forward. It’s the shift that is happening culture wide that interests me, and it looks like we are still moving in the right direction.

      I would read a post of analysis of her case though, were someone to write one 😉

      • Bill 1.1.1

        Thinking you’ve missed the point I was trying to make.

        By way of quick comparison, if we were in the UK right now, we probably wouldn’t be able to open a newspaper or turn on the TV without being accosted by analyses of DUP/Tory deal; historic pieces on the DUP; opinions on why the deal with DUP and what it means; on likely consequences both intended and unintended at the specific policy level as well as in a broader sense – and so on.

        That’s what I’d like to see in NZ msm coming off the back of this court case with respect to discussion on global warming. And like I say, I don’t expect to see it.

  2. Richard McGrath 2

    “Moderator note – zero tolerance for climate change denial in comments. Bans will be given without warning.”

    You heard it here first – healthy scepticism will not be tolerated!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago