News about DEA

Antarctica Update from Merryn Redenbach of the Sea Shepherd CS


Merryn is a doctor with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

She works in community paediatrics, is a DEA member from Victoria and is a doctor on the Steve Irwin in Antarctica hassling Japanese whalers. Here is her first blog. I suspect that many DEA members are envious. You can donate by going to -Editor.

News and Comment from the Secretary

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
The Government’s key proposal for the reduction of greenhouse emissions, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme may not deliver satisfactory outcomes.

The first problem relates to the voluntary reduction in emissions by the community. It is possible that these efforts will become a waste of time under the CPRS. Many critiques have argued that when a citizen reduces personal emissions by  installing solar panels or indeed by using the Government’s new insulation scheme for houses, the reduced electricity production from power stations will allow this power station  to sell permits to other polluting industries. Overall there will be no decrease in emissions. The government has not answered this criticism satisfactorily. The second problem relates to major exporting polluters, including iron ore and aluminium producers BHP Billiton, Alcoa and Rio Tinto, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers Chevron and Woodside Petroleum, who will get significant exemptions for their emissions. The government appears to have been rolled over in the face of heavy lobbying by industry.

News from the Secretary January 2009

Health impacts of climate change are felt in Adelaide
The discerning citizens in Adelaide and its environs have recognised the coming of climate change for some time now by changes in the flora and bird population. The River Murray debacle is obvious to all but many still say there have always been such droughts and climate change is not necessarily to blame. But the present heat wave with a succession of days in the low 40’s cannot be escaped physically or scientifically. It has signified the future to most suffering citizens.



News from the Secretary, December 2008

In a week when the World Meteorological Office (WMO) reported that 2008 was the tenth warmest since records began in 1850 and global temperatures for 2000-2008 stood almost 0.2 °C warmer than the average for the decade 1990–1999, the WMO said "The industrialised world must cut its emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change”. The Australian government set a target of 5 percent reduction In the Carbon Reduction Pollution Scheme (CRPS)—called an Emissions trading scheme (ETS) in other countries. Industry and the Opposition claimed this proposal was too much or too soon or both. Certainly it was not an auspicious week for the most wealthy and stable country in the world and the biggest per capita emitter. And it was a bitter disappointment to those who understand the implications of climate change. There is more comment in the article below

News from the Secretary, September - October 2008

The world of human endeavour has changed in the past few weeks and in an article on DEA web site below I have attempted to take stock of what this means for the natural environment. The new and important factors to be thrown into a revised equation of human health and survival are the financial crisis and the resulting control of capitalism, the US election result and the emerging realism of China’s leaders. It is possible to be very positive about all these happenings.

Have you written to the Prime Minister?

We know that the government will make several important decisions on climate change before the end of the year and almost certainly by the beginning of December. The government has indicated that it expects to hold to its election promise to implement an emissions trading scheme in 2010. The Opposition wishes this delayed as does many business lobbies on the grounds of international financial crisis.

News from the Secretary, August 2008

Barack Obama and Climate Change

The world cannot move forward without the US getting positively involved in this issue. Obama's acceptance speech contained some good intent. He said:-

"And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president - in 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East."

"Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close."

News from the Secretary for June and July 2008,

Climate Change

As doctors we are aware of the importance of climate change  because of the sufferings and  costs of failing to address it.

Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts show that Australia’s greenhouse emissions in 2007 were around 585 million tonnes or 106 per cent of 1990 levels. This is an increase of 1.6 per cent from 2006. The largest single source of direct emissions is the electricity, gas and water economic sector, accounting for 35.5 per cent of Australia’s emissions, while Australia’s primary industries (agriculture, forestry and fishing and mining) accounting for 32.7 per cent of direct emissions. The report is available at

News from the Secretary May 2008

I will soon be in Zurich. I have friends there with whom I have been discussing the cost of petrol furore here and in the UK. There is no such debate in Zurich for they have an efficient public transport system which reduces use of the private car to a minimum. Australian cities are four decades behind in such developments with the possible exception of Perth. In terms of the future health and wellbeing of humanity, the rise in the price of oil is good news and it should not be beyond the capabilities of government to offer relief to those who cannot pay. On your behalf we will be pursuing the urgent need for more public transport as an important health measure over the coming months. There will be a new poster and submissions will be made to governments.

News from the Secretary April 2008

The 2020 summit is over and what are the gains? Climate change and related issues were one of 10 important topics discussed and those attending indicated that the enthusiasm and collegiality of the group was a great experience. I was not present so had to make judgement from reading the submissions and the report. My comments are on the DEA web site.

The DEA submission to the 2020 summit, number 4317 can be found on

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.

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