Today members of 18 leading health professional organisations met with the Minister for Climate Change, Hon. James Shaw, to add their collective voices of support for a strong Zero Carbon Act.
The meeting, hosted by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, included organisations representing tens of thousands of nurses, doctors and other health professionals. Attendees were united in their call for decisive action on climate change to protect and improve health and fairness for New Zealanders.
“There is a strong consensus among health professionals that NZ needs a robust law to get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions,” says Dr Rhys Jones, co-convenor of OraTaiao, the NZ Climate & Health Council.
“A Zero Carbon Act will need to set targets and action that are fast, fair, firm and founded on Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Three decades of sitting on our hands means we now need to face the reality that all sectors must play their part in responding to the climate crisis. We need to reach net zero for all our greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.”
“Importantly, we also know that well-designed climate action can create better health and a fairer society now and in future. Energy efficient homes can be warmer, drier and more affordable; low carbon transport can make it easy to be more active and clear the air; and shifting towards a plant-based food system can reduce cancer and address our freshwater crisis.”
“According to the World Health Organization, climate change is the defining health issue of the 21st century. The Zero Carbon Bill is a crucial piece of legislation for health, because it’s a huge opportunity to improve health and build a fairer society through well designed climate action.”
“For our health’s sake, the Climate Commission has to set emissions budgets that rapidly reduce NZ’s domestic carbon, nitrous oxide and methane emissions, starting immediately,” says Dr Jones.
The Zero Carbon Bill consultation ends 5pm Thursday 19 July.