INDEPENDENT NEWS

Climate change not so cool

Published: Mon 21 Jan 2019 11:31 AM
Climate change not so cool
With temperatures high around the country, Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has launched the Ministry of Health’s new Heat Health Plan Guidelines.
“Climate change is a big threat to our society, and we need to plan for anticipated weather like hotter days now,” says Ms Genter.
“Although it is great to enjoy the outdoors, getting too hot is a serious risk that will happen more in our future. Our health will be impacted by climate change, and we need to ensure we are all ready.
The number of days where temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius is expected to increase between 40 and 100 percent by 2040 and between 40 and 300 percent by 2090.
“Extreme heat can cause problems for everyone, but it can be especially concerning for babies and infants, pregnant women, older people, those with pre-existing medical conditions, and those with disabilities,” Ms Genter said.
“Every year we have older New Zealanders who die due to heat issues and this is projected to increase. Research shows that hospital admissions and deaths increase during periods of hot weather.
“I want us to all be aware of the impact the heat can have on vulnerable people, so be careful when taking Grandma to the beach.
“Climate change doesn’t just affect our health, it also has an impact on people’s productivity at work, the primary industries and our economy. This is an issue we all need to be thinking about.
“Having Heat Health Plan Guidelines will raise awareness and drive local action to counter the negative impact extreme temperatures can have on our health.
“These guidelines are aimed at helping health and community service providers, including local government, prepare their own plans dedicated to their community and their own predicted weather variations,” Ms Genter said.
Plans should be integrated with existing emergency response plans and include the four Rs of emergency management: reduction, readiness, response and recovery.
Other aspects to consider in any Heat Health plan include:
ensuring appropriate responses are ready for vulnerable populations in heatwaves
keeping buildings cool and shaded
taking long-term actions to reduce heat impacts such as urban planning, developing green spaces and reducing carbon emissions
setting appropriate staffing levels that take account of staff and client safety in hot weather
considering staff wellbeing (as well as clients) during an extreme heat event and providing training for staff on explaining risks of high heat to clients
incorporating heat events into communication strategies and business continuity service plans.
Notes: According to the Ministry for the Environment’s 2018 Climate Change Projections for New Zealand, the number of days over 25 degrees varies across the country. Hawke's Bay (27.5 days), Canterbury (27.3), Northland (24.5 days) and Gisborne (24.2 days) had the highest average number of days last year with maximum temperatures over 25 degrees.

Next in New Zealand politics

Government to end tenure review
By: New Zealand Government
A new future for work skills training in NZ
By: New Zealand Government
Progress Stalled in Reducing Inequality
By: Salvation Army
SSC to seek answers on IRD survey
By: New Zealand Government
Prohibiting smoking in vehicles carrying children for health
By: New Zealand Government
Nationwide events to commemorate Waitangi Day 2019
By: New Zealand Government
Change to how iconic high country land is managed
By: New Zealand Government
High Country farmers face more uncertainty, costs
By: New Zealand National Party
Forest & Bird welcomes end to tenure review
By: Forest And Bird
Fish and Game welcomes the halt to tenure reviews
By: NZ Fish and Game Council
EDS not convinced abandoning tenure review is a good thing
By: Environmental Defence Society
Purchase of unique North Otago reserve announced
By: New Zealand Government
Regions will suffer under centralisation of training
By: New Zealand National Party
SIT should not be merged
By: New Zealand National Party
Govt should privatise vocational education
By: ACT New Zealand
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media