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Health professionals welcome today’s Zero Carbon Act launch

0 April 2017
Health professionals welcome today’s Zero Carbon Act launch


Health professionals congratulate Generation Zero on today’s Zero Carbon Act campaign launch.

The Act is designed to reduce New Zealand’s long-lived greenhouse gas emissions to net zero within a generation. This means by 2050 our dangerous climate pollution will have been reduced enough to be completely absorbed by increased forests.

The Zero Carbon Act – modelled on the UK’s successful Climate Change Act passed by a conservative-led government in 2008 – will bind future governments to genuine action that protects New Zealand.

“As health professionals, we know that climate change is a public health emergency,” says Dr Rhys Jones of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council.

“This Zero Carbon Act is an essential prescription for New Zealand’s future health – and deserves wide public and cross-party political support.

“The UK Climate Change Act has led to real climate action. For example, the UK’s National Health Service has reduced emissions by 11 percent since 2007, despite an 18 percent increase in health care activity.”

The Zero Carbon Act will ensure New Zealand’s transition to zero carbon recognises social impact and intergenerational equity.

“In choosing how we act on climate change, health and fairness matter,” says Dr Jones.

“We know it is possible to reduce carbon emissions in ways that are fair, honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and improve health in the short and long term. This will mean from the beginning, working in partnership with Maori and ensuring genuine inclusion of Pacific peoples and others who will be most affected by climate change.

“For example, rapid moves to more walking, cycling and public transport will cut transport emissions, reduce air pollution, and boost physical activity – reducing the burden of obesity, diabetes, heart and lung disease, and cancer.”

“In addition, well-planned climate action can make New Zealand homes healthier and cheaper to warm and cool.

“Action to support New Zealand’s most vulnerable populations must be a priority, as these groups are being hit first and worst as our climate changes.

“Last year New Zealand ratified the Paris Climate Agreement’s net zero future. This year we need cross-party support for a Zero Carbon Act to make sure we get there.”

ENDS

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