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New report predicts 250% jump in climate-related deaths

4 February 2014

New report predicts 250 percent jump in climate-related deaths

A new report predicting a 250 percent jump in heat-related deaths shows National must take the threat of climate change more seriously, the Green Party said today.

The increased death rate from hot weather is in research published today in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The elderly are thought to be most at risk.

“This latest report reminds us the threat of climate change is real, and the Government must take it more seriously. It needs to stop treating emission reductions as an option rather than an imperative,” said Green Party climate change spokesperson Kennedy Graham.

The 250 percent figure is global, and covers the period between now and the middle of the century, but the New Zealand Climate and Health Council said today an ageing population and increased frequency of very hot days mean similar trends are likely to be seen here in New Zealand. The council has called for “all efforts to be made to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions”.

“Unfortunately, the Government is not making every effort to prevent dangerous climate change, as required of all countries under international treaty obligations”, said Dr Graham.

“Its current policies mean New Zealand is now on track to increase its emissions by 50 percent by 2030. When you consider that lives at stake from a warming planet, John Key has a serious responsibility to turn this trend around.”

As well as heat-related deaths, the Climate and Health Council says climate change can affect food availability, increase mosquito-borne illness and create a phenomenon of “climate refugees” who flee their own countries, and arrive in New Zealand, placing a burden on the local health system.

ENDS

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