Meeting the challenge head-on

New Zealand is walking the talk in the battle to tackle climate change with 18 health organisations as well as 60 businesses committing to decisive action on the issue.

On July 6 in a historic meeting for climate change and health, members of the leading health professional organisations, including the Health Promotion Forum of NZ, met with the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, to add their support for a strong Zero Carbon Act. Attendees at the meeting of health organisations hosted by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons 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 New Zealand needs a robust law to get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions,” said 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.” Sione Tui’tahi, HPF’s Executive Director who attended the meeting said it was encouraging to see members in the health sector working together for our collective wellbeing. The Zero Carbon Bill consultation ends on July 19. The move by the business community to take action has been praised as “strong” and “unprecedented” by local and global organisations. CEOs have formed the Climate Leaders Coalition, recognising the role that business can play in bringing about change and signing a joint statement, which commits their companies to action. By signing the CEO Climate Change Statement, each of the business leaders has committed to measuring and reporting their greenhouse gas emissions and working with suppliers to reduce emissions, with the aim of helping to keep global warming within 2C, as specified in the Paris Agreement. Convenor of the coalition, Z Energy CEO, Mike Bennetts said: “I knew that many businesses were making progress with their own company’s response to climate change but that still left a gap around what we could be doing more of together to increase the pace and scale of impact from our collective efforts. “So, it made sense to discuss those opportunities and commit to further action.” The new group includes the leaders of Z, Westpac, Ngai Tahu Holdings, Vector, Air New Zealand, Spark and NZ Post.

    Members of leading health organisations, including HPF, meeting with the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw to add their support for a strong Zero Carbon Act.