Nzdoctor.co.nz has reported (08/10/2014) on the recent discussion held on day three of the NZ Population Health Congress that focused strongly on health and climate change.
The lead author of the health chapter of the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Professor Kirk Smith, said that we need to act on climate change to protect the current and future health of the population.
Dr Rhys Jones of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council warned that climate change is already contributing to the worldwide burden of premature death and disease, with worse ahead of us.
He stressed that climate change is a threat to all New Zealanders, with Maori, Pacific communities, the elderly, children and low income groups hit hardest.
Dr Jones said that well designed climate policies could make a real difference to health. Immediate health benefits would result from policies that aim to provide NZ's poorest families with home insulation, improve nutrition, clean energy, better public transport, safer walking and cycle-ways. These all lead the way on reducing GHG emissions.
As Dr Jones sees climate change as the defining health issue of our time, he hopes that the Congress talks spark urgent action in the government, health sector and wider community.