Last Friday, the New Zealand Climate & Health Group made their views on the Emissions Trading Scheme public. In the Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association (the article is viewable if you have a subscription), the group conclude that any changes that benefit polluters over everyone else will jeopardise public health.
Dr Jamie Hosking, who helped write the article, suggests that a well-designed ETS could lead to:
1. Reduced emissions and thus a reduction in climate change and its negative health effects
2. ‘Recycling’ Government revenue from emissions pricing into strategies with health co-benefits
3. Promoting behaviour change that has both emissions and health benefits, such as energy-efficient housing and more walking and cycling
4. Gains in health equity and fairness
The scale of National’s proposed kickbacks to big polluters is not lost on these doctors:
“This is not the best use of more than $754 million dollars of taxpayer resources”, says Dr Hosking. “It would be more than the annual budget of most of the District Health Boards (DHBs) in New Zealand, and would pay for the combined DHB deficit (at $150 million at the end of 2008) five times over.”
This is not a fringe group. They understand that if Kiwis don’t create a fair and comprehensive approach to solving climate change, then we all lose.