20 November 2015
Health groups call for fast, fair climate action
Health groups have come out today in an editorial in the New
Zealand Medical Journal, highlighting serious health disparities as
a result of climate change. They state that urgent action, based on
a fair approach to reducing global climate emissions, is essential
for health and equity.
The editorial was written by Dr Scott Metcalfe, for the New
Zealand College of Public Health Medicine and OraTaiao: The New
Zealand Climate and Health Council.
"It is unfair that poor countries, who have contributed the
least to climate change, are being affected first and worst," says
Dr Rhys Jones, co-convenor of OraTaiao and fellow of the NZ College
of Public Health Medicine.
This unfair situation extends to New Zealand, where the most
vulnerable households will be hit earliest and hardest. "Unless we
do something dramatic to address disparities, Māori, Pacific
peoples, children, older people and low income households will bear
the brunt of the health impacts of climate change," says Dr
Dr Jones says that New Zealand, as a developed country and a
high emitter, needs to walk the talk at the upcoming international
climate negotiations in Paris. "The emissions reduction target New
Zealand will be taking to Paris falls well short of what is
required to do our fair share. If most countries followed New
Zealand's approach, global warming would exceed 3-4°C - double the
internationally agreed limit."
"Joining the global team by taking real action now that's fair
gives enormous health opportunities - including for the most
disadvantaged groups in New Zealand and globally," says Dr
The New Zealand Medical Journal editorial is freely available online.
Media Spokesperson: Dr Rhys Jones, Ph. 021
Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a
Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University of
Auckland, and Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate
Climate and Health Council.
OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health
Council are health professionals concerned with
climate change as a serious public health threat. They also promote
the positive health gains that can be achieved through action to
address climate change. See: www.orataiao.org.nz
The NZ Medical Journal editorial is at: https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2015/vol-128-no-1425-20-november-2015/6741
Previous NZ Medical Journal editorial is at:
The climate gap: those who have emitted most vs. those
impacted first and worst
1. Cumulative fossil CO2 emissions,
2. Additional deaths attributable to climate change
from five climate-sensitive consequences, 2030