News from the Secretary, February - March 2008

The interim report of the Garnaut Climate Change Review is a landmark. (for review see  "Desperate Times Call for Tough Leadership"” ABC News Opinion ""

Professor Garnaut is an economist immersing himself in the scientific findings of the IPCC reports and writing that we need a 90% reduction in emissions by 2050 if we are to have a 50/50 chance of avoiding serious consequences.  Garnaut has suffered the same shock that comes to all those who spend many weeks going through the evidence.  He recognises that several consequences of climate change that were not predicted to occur 'till later this century are now upon us and global emissions are still accelerating. Action is now urgent.

All members have joined DEA to make their commitment to aspects of the environment and to human health.

What are we doing and what can you do?

Submission to the Garnaut Review
Your Committee has just made its submission on the health aspects of climate change. This is carefully researched and falls well within our sphere of expertise. It is now posted for you to read on our web site Submissions. Our submission adds a further important economic argument on the yet unmeasured, but almost certainly large costs of health which demand urgent action on emission control. Our  submission will also be used to lobby governments. It is clear that the government’s election promise of 60% reductions in emissions by 2050 is unlikely to be enough.

Submissions to the Australia 2020 Summit
Your Committee is preparing submissions and we again highlight the predicted widespread health aspects of climate change.

World Health Day April 7th
WHO’s topic for World Health Day is "Protecting Health from Climate Change"”
Two important events have been organised by DEA

                 Together with the Climate Institute, DEA will release a national report on Health and Climate Change. We will keep   you informed about this release and accompanying media.

                 An important lecture has been organised on World Health Day at the McCaughey Centre  'Protecting Health from Climate Change' by Grant Blashki. Attendance by the Victorian members of DEA would be greatly appreciated. You have been circulated about this lecture already and reminders will be sent

What can you do?

If targets are to be met for 2050, whether they be 60 or 90%, a reduction in grennhouse emissions of 25 to 40% will be necessary by 2020. We have only 12 years! We hope that each member:-

                 Will adopt personal measures to reduce their emissions. We can all do more—please look at   "Things to do"  by Bill  Castleden, DEA home page.

                 Educate your patients by using our posters  (see DEA home page) in your waiting room. So far we have had only a very small number of requests from our several hundred members for our most recent poster. By contrast we are getting many requests from schools! You can order direct from me, .There is no cost.

                 Please recruit one new member each. This gives us more members to workwith  to effect change and some of these new members will find time to help us in other ways. State by state we are rolling out an information package for each of you to give to one friend or colleague. We ask you to spend 5 minutes on this. New South Wales members will receive their package in the next few days.

WONCA Asia Pacific Regional Conference, Melbourne 2-5 October 2008 combined with the RACGP 51st Annual Scientific Conference

We are indicating to you that we are aiming to hold our AGM during this conference and are working towards other forms of participation in the conference. We urge you to put these dates in your diary in the expectation that you will want to register. The program looks very exciting.

 Biodiversity under assault in the US

The past 8 years have seen a significant weakening of conservation values in the US with the opening of parks to logging and exploration for oil. The Presidential campaign has continued this dominate-nature approach. Quotes from the New York Times:-

"My father taught me to shoot 100 years ago. — “I shot a banded duck"” Hillary Clinton
"I’m pretty sure there will be duck hunting in heaven, and I can’t wait"” — Mike Huckabee
"I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life.” —"  Mitt Romney (it was then pointed out that he had never had a licence!)
Barrack Abama, no bragging yet!!!
McCain hasn’t shot anything yet but he has taken aim at a research project that looks at the threatened species status of the grizzly bear. Unfortunately he shot himself in the foot because the research was financed by his Republican campaign director from Montana.

It is against this background that we have released our poster which educates on the importance of biodiversity to human health! Read more in the article on the DEA home page.

Please ask your colleagues to sell their Porsches
These cars will have to pay a $50 proposed congestion charge every time they go to Harley Street in central London. Porsche is contesting this in court which has drawn attention to the fact that of the 46 models and variants in Porsche's range, 44 will face the top $50 daily congestion charge.  Porsche's most polluting model, the Cayenne Turbo S,  emits 378g of CO2 per kilometre, which is around 4 times as  polluting as the most fuel efficient vehicles on the market.

Some interesting articles by DEA members

Colin Butler, Member of DEA Management Committee gave a talk on "The Lancet and the arms trade" on "Perspective", Radio National 4 March.

Bryan Furnass ACT member of DEA presented a paper to the ANU Emeritus Faculty (EF) on 'Entropy, climate and health: how shall we adapt"  last November. This has now been put on the EF website, with the address  ""  Some people have had difficulty in accessing the paper direct. In that case they can try an indirect method, as follows: 1) 2) click events 3) click past lectures and events 4) click abstract and transcript in right hand column.

Carbon Offsetting Your Personal Footprint- A Guide. This is an article on DEA web site which now has an important addition from Fiona McCormick, General Practitioner and Climate Project presenter. Please read!

Other articles worthy of your attention

Preventing damage to the environment from pharmaceuticals: a primer

Meat and Seafood: “The Global Diet’s Most Costly Ingredients”
You can download this chapter from the World Watch site