Reports on Climate Change

Future Justice edited by Helen Sykes; climate change and justice

In making representations to our colleagues on the need to mitigate climate change we should not delude ourselves that all will bow to the reasoning of science, nor to the tenets of natural justice. Both are often sullied by self interest and ideology. When asking a colleague to contribute to climate change education I was greeted with silence- so I resorted to “You have young children what about their future?” The response was “that’s their problem” It was my turn to be silent!

Chapter 1 in Future Justice edited by Helen Sykes is written by Janna Thompson, a philosopher, it deals with justice issues in climate change.

Fracking for coal gas is a health hazard

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to shatter rock strata and force coal seam gas to the surface. It is then refined into natural gas for fuel
The emerging problems of water contamination from fracking are being reported from many sources. They raise the entire question of government responsibilities to the community in the sphere of public health.

In Queensland, ground water and bores used for stock were contaminated recently with benzene and toluene near to the Cougar Energy project at Kingaroy.  Queensland's Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) ordered Cougar to stop its underground coal gasification trial.

Election Manifesto on the Health Impacts of Coal Pollution and Renewable Energy

Governments are rightly concerned about the delivery of health services through hospitals and clinics. Equally important is the prevention of ill health (preventative medicine) through such measures as vaccination, cessation of smoking, healthy life style and removal of carcinogens and pollutants from our environment.

Doctors use the term co-benefit when we can have a health win, commensurate with a government decision on another need. For example development of good public transport has been shown to improve health because people get out of their cars and walk to the bus. There is less pollution of cities and greenhouse emissions. There are cost savings to health which can be offset against the cost of public transport infrastructure.

Greening our prescriptions by Dr Rosemary Stanton

This article is authored by Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, member of DEA Scientific Advisory Committee, nutritionist and Visiting Fellow in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales.   It highlights environmental factors which can help motivate our patients to eat healthily.

The article appeared in Medical Observer in the DEA column The link is here.

It can be difficult to convince many people need to change their eating and exercise habits.. Could a new perspective on food provide a more effective motive?

The Gulf of Mexico oil calamity—a blessing in disguise?


Many have thought that action on climate change may have to await a calamity. The question is whether the Gulf oil spill will change the course of history by encouraging the USA to serious development of alternative energy.

Furthermore will this spill draw attention to the appalling environmental and health impact of Big Oil around the world and make it more difficult to exploit poor legislation in developing countries and the political process in the rich countries.

History suggests business will be as usual.   In 1989 the Exxon Valdez spill of 11 million gallons was the worst in American history. It damaged 1,300 miles of shoreline, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of people in the region and killing hundreds of thousands of birds and marine animals. Despite the clean-up, oil remains on beaches and the ecology has not recovered. The herring fishing was lost completely. After 20 years in court $500m damages was awarded, a pittance.

Requiem for a Species by Clive Hamilton. Book review

Frank Fenner is quoted in a recent article in the Australian said "We're going to become extinct, whatever we do now is too late."

“The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years. But the world can't. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we've seen disappear. Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years, a lot of other animals will, too. It's an irreversible situation. I think it's too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off. Mitigation would slow things down a bit, but there are too many people here already."

Polluted by profit: Johann Hari on the real Climategate

Global warming - and the worst environmental disasters - will only be tackled when green lobbyists in the US stop taking cash from Big Oil and Big Coal

This article appeared in the independent (UK) Friday, 21 May 2010. We thank the Independent and Johann Hari for permission to re-publish.

Why did America's leading environmental groups jet to Copenhagen to lobby for policies that will lead to the faster death of the rainforests – and runaway global warming? Why are their staff dismissing the only real solutions to climate change as "unworkable" and "unrealistic"? Why are they clambering into corporate "partnerships" with BP, which is responsible for the worst oil spill in living memory?

Ecological Services and Human Health

Many of us have had the experience of briefing an elected representative on climate change and have mentioned the impact of climate change on ecological services. This is often met with a glazed look, so we go onto explain that these services are essential to human health and life—they are our life support system. If the politician has not lost interest the question may come forth, “What do you mean? What are they?” We then quote the standard reply that they are provision of food, fiber, purified water, degradation of wastes and pollutants, recycling of nutrients, stabilization of climate.

A Sustainable Population for Australia; a draft position paper from Doctors for the Environment Australia



Doctors for the Environment Australia recommends that a national task force be formed to prepare a scientific report on an environmentally sustainable population for Australia.

This report must be based upon scientific, demographic and health science and not on the opinions of community sectors with conflicts of interest. The intent will be to provide the data upon which government policy can be reliably based.

Some facts

Projections suggest that world population, currently 6.8 billion, will reach 9.1 billion by 2050.

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