Health professional groups recognise human-caused climate change as an increasingly serious and urgent threat to health and health equity in New Zealand and worldwide. In contrast, rapid and effective action on climate change represents an important opportunity to improve health, by avoiding negative health impacts and by realising significant health and equity co-benefits from well-designed climate policies.
MERAS is a signatory to the Climate Change and Health Health Professionals Joint Call for Action
Our vision is: A just transition to healthy people living in a healthy climate.
As health professional organisations we call for:
- A rapid, whole-of-society, transition to a net-zero GHG-emitting nation, which is based in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and designed to make the most of opportunities for health and creating a fairer society.
- A national emissions reduction target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Different gases have different roles in this target, consistent with IPCC evidence about the role of long- and short-lived gases in the atmosphere and ocean and in achieving substantial reductions in the crucial next decade.
- This target needs to be accompanied by robust interim targets and emissions budgets that fairly share the global emissions budget, with transparent, responsive monitoring of progress.
- Health sector planning to prepare for the locked-in health impacts of climate change, and rapidly adapting to a net-zero emissions future.
- Measures that prioritise and protect groups likely to be worst affected – Māori, Pacific peoples, children, elderly, and low income people.
- GHG emissions to be a key performance indicator for health sector organisations.
- Health (including equity) Impact Assessment (HIA) to be routinely undertaken to
inform key climate-relevant policies.
- New Zealand to demonstrate leadership in promoting effective and fair global action to reduce GHG emissions.
- New Zealand to demonstrate leadership in protecting health from climate change in the climate-vulnerable Pacific region.
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