Reports on Climate Change

Climate change; the middle ground is not enough

David Shearman

Telling words were uttered on the ABC TV 7.30 Report, 11 December. Asked about a forthcoming government statement on greenhouse gas emissions Mr Rudd said,

“And I'm sure when this is delivered, early next week, we'll get attacked from the left, from the right, we'll get attacked by various radical green groups saying that we haven't gone far enough because we haven't closed down the coal industry by next Thursday.”

O’Brien: I think that's a little unkind, but ...

 Mr. Rudd modified by saying

Mary Robinson: Climate change is an issue of human rights

These principles must be put at the heart of any deal on global warming

Printed with permission of The independent Newspaper UK.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Sixty years ago today, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the cornerstone document created in the aftermath of unimaginable atrocities. This declaration, and the legal documents that stemmed from it, have helped us combat torture, discrimination and hunger. And now, this venerable document should guide us in the fight against one of the greatest challenges ever to face humankind: climate change.

The Hepburn Community Wind Farm; a Viewpoint from the local General Practitioner

By Gerard Ingham, Hepburn Springs

Editors note.  We receive many messages from our members asking what they can do to alleviate climate change and we frequently make suggestions to you for example GreenClinics shown on the DEA web page. We have a further suggestion for you based upon Hepburn a town of one hour north –west of Melbourne.  In 2005 the Hepburn Renewable Energy Association decided to establish a community owned wind farm that would help match the electricity needs of the Hepburn Shire. Permissions have now been granted for two 2 megawatt wind turbines with a total capacity of 4 megawatt of power, enough electricity for 2,300 homes, in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.

Climate Change and the Financial Crisis. An Opinion

The world of human endeavour has changed in the past few weeks and these few words, my own opinion, take stock of what this means for the natural environment. The new factors to be thrown into a revised equation of human health and survival are the financial crisis and the likely control of capitalism, the US election result and the emerging realism of China. It is possible to be very positive about these happenings. During the past fifteen years of unparalleled growth fuelled by consumerism, the ecological crisis has accelerated as evidenced by recent WWF and other reports. The journey towards catastrophe was unlikely to be arrested under an uncontrolled market economy. The excesses of capitalism have now brought unemployment and financial difficulty to the West and will increase poverty and famine in the less fortunate countries. Indeed, evidence for these sequelae is emerging already. Five months ago the international community promised $12 billion for the global food emergency but today less than $1 billion has been delivered. Contrast this figure with the $70 billion that the New York bankers will pay to themselves this year in blithe indifference to their recent deeds!

Health, Environmental Damage and Human Rights

In September, the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), Physicians for Social Responsibility and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War presented a workshop at the UN Department of Public Information in Paris.

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is a member of ISDE and Graeme Horton, member of DEA Management Committee presented a paper on Climate Change. Below are the summaries of the presentations

Introduction - Cathey E. Falvo, MD
--Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights addresses the rights to health (a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO)) and emphasizes the special care that is necessary for motherhood and childhood. Health and well being of the population and especially children can not occur in the face of environmental degradation.  Environmental health threats come from many sources, some of which will be addressed by the workshop.

Open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia from Climate Change Scientists

Click here to read the letter in PDF format - This letter should be read in conjunction with the article below titled 'Climate change and the Garnaut report; we need more than expediency".

Climate change and the Garnaut report; we need more than expediency

The conclusions of Professor Garnaut’s report are disappointing. He has grasped the science, urgency and risks and indeed the probability of loss of the Barrier Reef and much more. Yet he recommends measures to control emissions at 550ppm which will fail to avoid these dire consequences. This smacks of political expediency with a recognition that government intent burdened by perceived ecomonomic imperatives and  the electoral cycle is unlikely to do more. 

In a letter to Professor Garnaut dated 20.9.2008 in response to the Supplementary Report we said

The Problem Is Simple: Too Many People, Too Much Stuff

  By Paul & Anne Ehrlich

Over some 60 million years, Homo sapiens has evolved into the dominant animal on the planet, acquiring binocular vision, upright posture, large brains, and -- most importantly -- language with  syntax and that complex store of non-genetic information we call culture. However, in the last several centuries we've increasingly been using our relatively newly acquired power, especially our culturally evolved technologies, to deplete the natural capital of Earth -- in  particular its deep, rich agricultural soils, its groundwater stored  during ice ages, and its biodiversity -- as if there were no tomorrow.

Climate Change. A Letter from the Treasurer the Hon. Wayne Swan on Personal Action to reduce Emissions.

Early in 2008, Doctors for the Environment Australia wrote to all Federal parliamentarians about climate change. Because of the urgency of reducing greenhouse emissions we asked them to “Write to us yourself and tell us what you are doing personally (i.e. within your household) to address the problem of climate change. Let us know how you are showing leadership within your electorate and please send to us any messages you are using in your newsletters to constituents.

The first responses to our letter were discussed in “News from the Secretary, May 2008”. With a few exceptions amongst Labor members the responses from those in the major parties listed only government or opposition policy. However since the May newsletter there have a few more responses.

Climate Change, Growing Food and Health

Good news from Minister Nicola Roxon

Some really good news! Minister for Health Nicola Roxon has launched the national Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program in government primary schools. Children will work in a productive garden within their school where they will harvest the food and cook it in a purpose-built teaching kitchen, before sitting down together to taste and enjoy what they have made. Details of the scheme are provided http://www.alp.org.au/media/0808/msheag210.php
The intent of the scheme is to tackle childhood obesity by getting children involved and developing healthy habits for life. The fight against the obesity epidemic starts with our children – and the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program is an innovative and practical way of getting children involved.

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