PHA Communications Monday 10 September 2012, 11:18AM
Media release from PHA Communications
The New Zealand Climate and Health Council welcomes Justice
Geoffrey Venning's rejection of the New Zealand Climate Science
Education Trust's (NZCSET) case against the National Institute of
Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
Spokesperson Dr George Laking says the medical profession
recognises human-induced climate change as the number one threat to
health this century. Health risks of climate change start
with injury from heatwaves and storms, more tropical illnesses, and
ultimately threaten collapse of food supplies and political
insecurity from crop failure, coastal inundation and ocean
acidification. Global food prices are already rising with the
extreme drought affecting half of the United States.
"Yet it has been incredibly frustrating for us as medical
scientists to see political action on climate change repeatedly
obstructed by groups such as the NZ Climate Science Coalition and
their wealthy backers, apologists for the tobacco industry and the
fossil fuel and mining industry."
Dr Laking says climate sceptics have pretended there is scientific
doubt where it does not exist. "They are no different from tobacco
company executives, who as recently as 1994 testified that
"nicotine is not addictive".
Ironically, NZCSET is part of the New Zealand Climate Science
Coalition, which links with Big Tobacco. Tobacco giant Philip
Morris funds the Heartland Institute in the United States, which
funds climate deniers worldwide - including the NZ Climate Science
Coalition. "Having tried to confuse and deny the evidence with
tobacco, they are now doing the same for our destabilising climate,
through people like the New Zealand Climate Science
Coalition. Still peddling lies that kill, they are delaying
action essential to protect human health", says Dr Laking.
The artificial climate of pseudoscepticism has made it very hard
for the New Zealand public to understand how urgently we must move
to a low carbon economy. Yet there are real health gains from low
carbon measures including sustainable transport and local
production of food and renewable energy.
"It is our responsibility to decarbonise the economy right now"
ends Dr Laking. "The technologies already exist. We owe
it to the health of current and future generations. New
Zealanders should see Justice Venning's ruling as a wake-up call,
and not be lulled into complacency by the fossil fuel industry and