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WMHPG news, information and resources 13 September 2019

We do not accept responsibility for the availability, reliability or content of these news items and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.

Sustainable development goals

Anti-corruption and the 5 pillars of sustainable development: https://www.unssc.org/news-and-insights/resources/anti-corruption-and-5-pillars-sustainable-development/ - video

The Public Health Implications of Brexit in Wales: a health impact assessment approach: https://whiasu.publichealthnetwork.cymru/files/1815/4806/3883/The_Public_Health_Implications_of_Brexit_in_Wales_-_A_Health_Impact_Assessment_Approach._Executive_Summary..pdf “Policy makers and public services should consider the range of potential impacts of Brexit identified in this report (Sections 5 and 6) and the areas for future action (Section 7) and ensure co-ordinated actions are in place to address each. The report should also be considered by multi-agency structures that have been set up to prepare for and respond to Brexit, in order to provide co-ordination across activities and ensure interdependencies between them have been identified and addressed.”

Assessing the health effects of a “no deal” Brexit: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5300.full “Leaving the EU without a deal threatens health and the NHS in many ways, but the scale of the threat remains unclear. We propose a framework that could be the basis for the comprehensive health impact assessment to inform politicians and the public. The government’s claims that it is prepared for no deal are implausible and, at best, might mitigate some of the worst consequences”

It Will Take Up To 11 Years For The Government To Reverse Austerity: https://neweconomics.org/2019/09/it-will-take-up-to-11-years-for-the-government-to-reverse-austerity?mc_cid=9cc6ceb99c&mc_eid=a15a43d447 “The analysis shows that it will take almost a full parliament to reverse austerity in real terms (just taking into account inflation). Taking into account inflation and population growth means a full reversal will take 6 years. And to fully reverse the impacts of austerity as a percentage of GDP will take 11 years.2

The Fourth Edition Of The Advocacy In Action Toolkit Is Here!: https://www.phaiwa.org.au/the-fourth-edition-of-the-advocacy-in-action-toolkit-is-here/ “PHAIWA is excited to announce that the fourth edition of the Advocacy in Action: A Toolkit for Public Health Professionals is now available and ready for download! The new edition helps breakdown advocacy in a way that makes it easy for practitioners, organisations, communities and individuals to apply strategies that will help them to achieve policy change.”

Healthy planning & environment

Changing the urban design of cities for health: The superblock model: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019315223?via%3Dihub “We estimated that 667 premature deaths (95% CI: 235–1,098) could be prevented annually through implementing the 503 Superblocks. The greatest number of preventable deaths could be attributed to reductions in NO2 (291, 95% PI: 0–838), followed by noise (163, 95% CI: 83–246), heat (117, 95% CI: 101–137), and green space development (60, 95% CI: 0–119). Increased PA for an estimated 65,000 persons shifting car/motorcycle trips to public and active transport resulted in 36 preventable deaths (95% CI: 26–50). The Superblocks were estimated to result in an average increase in life expectancy for the Barcelona adult population of almost 200 days (95% CI: 99–297), and result in an annual economic impact of 1.7 billion EUR (95% CI: 0.6–2.8).”

To build safe streets, we need to address racism in urban design: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/08/28/to-build-safe-streets-we-need-to-address-racism-in-urban-design/ “Place-based disparities in pedestrian casualties and gun violence are not unique to the nation’s capital. Across the nation, street safety is dictated by race, class, and place. The lower a metro area’s median household income, the more dangerous its streets are for people walking. And similar trends persist for gun violence: a small set of high-poverty neighborhoods, typically born out of decades of racial segregation, experience disproportionate clusters of violence that concentrate fatalities among marginalized groups.” – USA focused but with some relevance to the UK

The amendments to the CIL Regulations that will be felt most immediately: https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/august/29/the-amendments-to-the-cil-regulations-that-will-be-felt-most-immediately/ “The most recent amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations (2010) come into force on 1 September and the consequences of many of the changes to the Regulations will be felt immediately.  But only in England – this is the first set of amendments to the CIL Regulations that do not apply in Wales.”

Facing the crisis: Rethinking economics for the age of environmental breakdown: https://www.ippr.org/environmentalbreakdown “IPPR is undertaking a major research programme to understand the implications of environmental breakdown for policy and politics. We are seeking to develop the narratives and policy needed to manage risk in this new era, protect societies from disruption caused by environmental breakdown, and enable future generations to flourish.”

Ecosystems and ecological breakdown: https://theecologist.org/2019/aug/27/system-change-youth-activism “The threats to balance in an ecosystem may be a natural disaster or the spread of disease, for example, but are also human interference and habitat destruction. Around the globe, human activity threatens the fine balance of the ecosystems that all life on earth, including our own, depends on.”

Squirrel 'threat' to critical infrastructure: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/technology-38650436 “He concludes that the damage done by real cyber-attacks - Stuxnet's destruction of Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges and disruption to Ukrainian power plants being the most high profile - was tiny compared to the "cyber-threat" posed by animals. Most of the animal "attacks" were on power cables but Mr Thomas also discovered that jellyfish had shut down a Swedish nuclear power plant in 2013, by clogging the pipes that carry cool water to the turbines.”


Beyond Generation Rent: Understanding The Aspirations Of Private Renters Aged 35-54: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/beyond-generation-rent/ “This report specifically looks at renters aged 35-54 and their experiences of private renting. The study found that as well as encountering similar issues as younger renters – unaffordable rents, insecure housing, and poor quality properties – older renters also experienced distinct issues, such as the impact on family life, challenges in adapting properties for age-related health and mobility impairments, and being aged out of a mortgage.”

The affordability of “affordable” housing in England: conditionality and exclusion in a context of welfare reform: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673037.2019.1653448 “The research highlights that the combination of welfare and housing policies, in the context of a financialising housing association sector, has the potential to erode access to social housing for those who are perceived as a financial risk, reshaping the focus of social housing.”

Solutions to an Age Old Problem in London: https://lichfields.uk/media/5350/elderly-housing-in-london.pdf “London’s population of older people is growing rapidly. Consequently, there is an urgent need to provide more specialist accommodation for

older people.”

Climate change & sustainability

Climate Strike 2019

The impact of temperature on mortality across different climate zones: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-019-02519-1 “This paper finds that the majority of deaths related to temperature in Australia are caused by heat. It also finds that the reference temperature used to separate impacts into heat-/cold-related mortality has a notable impact on the magnitude of these estimates. Previous studies (using the same methodology) found that most of the temperature-related mortality burden in Australia was attributed to cold temperatures… This analysis indicates that studies that found net benefits from climate change need to be re-assessed, especially for Australia and warmer climate zones.”

Increased shear in the North Atlantic upper-level jet stream over the past four decades: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1465-z “Our results indicate that climate change may be having a larger impact on the North Atlantic jet stream than previously thought. The increased vertical shear is consistent with the intensification of shear-driven clear-air turbulence expected from climate change, which will affect aviation in the busy transatlantic flight corridor by creating a more turbulent flying environment for aircraft. We conclude that the effects of climate change and variability on the upper-level jet stream are being partly obscured by the traditional focus on wind speed rather than wind shear.”

World faces ‘climate apartheid’ risk, 120 more million in poverty: UN expert: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/06/1041261 “Climate change “threatens to undo the last 50 years” of development, global health and poverty reduction, a United Nations expert said on Tuesday, citing the risk of a new era of “climate apartheid” where the rich buy their way out of rising heat and hunger.”

Climate change is environmental racism: https://theecologist.org/2019/sep/03/climate-change-environmental-racism “Climate change doesn’t affect us all equally, with those in the developing world being far more ‘climate vulnerable’ to soaring temperatures which result in an increased prevalence of droughts and therefore famine and migration. However the Global North - which is primarily to blame for the climate crisis that we are in - is only just seeing the impact of this emergency.”

Climate crisis is greatest ever threat to human rights, UN warns: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/09/climate-crisis-human-rights-un-michelle-bachelet-united-nations “Climate change is not only having a devastating impact on the environments we live in, but also on respect for human rights globally, the UN has warned. The UN rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, cited the civil wars sparked by a warming planet and the plight of indigenous people in an Amazon ravaged by wildfires and rampant deforestation.”

Breakdown in spawning synchrony: A silent threat to coral persistence: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6457/1002 “Our changing climate is a threat to corals, causing disfiguring bleaching and mortality to reefs that once teemed with life. Shlesinger and Loya alert us to an equally dangerous yet nearly invisible hazard to coral: loss of breeding synchrony (see the Perspective by Fogarty and Marhaver). They found that environmental changes have resulted in shifts in the timing of gamete release in several species of broadcast-spawning corals in the Red Sea. Similar changes are likely occurring globally. Such a loss of spawning synchrony could result in reproductive failure, a much less obvious but no less insidious threat to coral reefs.”

Guest post: How the Greenland ice sheet fared in 2019: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-how-the-greenland-ice-sheet-fared-in-2019 “Our estimates show that the surface of the ice sheet gained 169bn tonnes of ice over 2018-19 – this is the seventh smallest gain on record. And using new satellite data, we show that – once all ice sheet processes are factored in for the past year – the Greenland ice sheet saw a net decline of 329bn tonnes in ice.”

Attribution of extreme weather events: how does climate change affect weather? https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wea.3610 “...Therefore, it cannot be said that an extreme weather event was caused by climate change. However, we now have the ability to estimate whether and to what extent the likelihood or intensity of an extreme event occurring has changed due to human‐induced climate change.”

Summer heat killed nearly 1,500 in France, officials say: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-49628275 “Record heatwaves in June and July caused the deaths of 1,435 people in France this year, according to the country's health minister. Speaking on French radio, Agnès Buzyn said half of those who died were aged over 75. But Ms Buzyn said, thanks to preventative measures, the rate was 10 times lower than the same period in 2003 when a deadly heatwave hit Europe.”

Video: The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/08/video-the-north-atlantic-ocean-current-may-be-slowing/ “Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam, Germany, says this circulation – called the thermohaline circulation, but popularly known to many in the U.S. as “the Gulf Stream” – keeps northern Europe several degrees warmer than it would otherwise be at that latitude.”

'Staggering failure to act': Government attacked for allocating just £30m to zero-carbon goal: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-zero-carbon-uk-net-target-environment-sajid-javid-spending-a9092986.html “Money promised by the government to help the country meet its 2050 net-zero target is just 0.1 per cent of what is required, environmental experts have warned.”

Hundreds of climate sceptics to mount international campaign to stop net-zero targets being made law: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-science-deniers-boris-johnson-environment-leak-a9094631.html “Hundreds of climate change deniers including academics, politicians and lobbyists are to launch a campaign to stop commitments to net zero carbon emissions being enshrined in law, The Independent can reveal. A letter titled “There is no climate emergency” – which has been signed by 400 people who deem climate change to be a myth – is being sent to leaders of European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) institutions in the coming weeks ahead of key environment talks.”

How do climate experts think about geoengineering? They get personal: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/09/how-climate-experts-think-about-geoengineering-get-personal/ “Climate experts who hail from countries that will be heavily impacted by climate change are more open to geoengineering than their colleagues from less threatened countries, according to a study published September 2 in Nature Climate Change. The findings, based on a survey of 723 individuals from 153 countries, provide a rare glimpse into the views of the people who are shaping the global community’s response to climate change.”

Adapt Now – A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience: https://gca.org/global-commission-on-adaptation/report “Our research finds that investing $1.8 trillion globally in five areas from 2020 to 2030 could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits. The five areas we consider are early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and investments in making water resources more resilient. This represents only a portion of the total investments needed and total benefits available.”

BBC Updates Editorial Guidelines to Improve Scrutiny of Thinktank Pundits: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/09/04/bbc-changes-editorial-guidelines-improve-scrutiny-unbiased-thinktanks “The broadcaster has now added “think tanks” to a list of groups that it says presenters and producers should “not automatically assume … are unbiased”.  “Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context,” the guidelines say. The change could have significant ramifications for representatives of anti-regulation, pro-Brexit think tanks and campaign groups based in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street, including the UK's principal climate science denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, on which DeSmog has extensively reported.”

12 books on climate change and public health: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/08/12-books-on-climate-change-and-public-health/ “In the two years that have passed since Yale Climate Connections first highlighted the growing collection of books and reports that address the health impacts of climate change, evidence for the changing climate has compounded… The other lesson learned since 2017: the interactions between air pollution and climate change are more complex – and dangerous – than previously thought. It’s time, then, for an updated list.”

Renewable power pays for itself with better health: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/09/renewable-power-pays-for-itself-with-better-health/ “Building out that renewable infrastructure will cost $3.5 billion and yield $2.8 billion in savings from avoided climate change impacts, according to an analysis published August 12 in in Environmental Research Letters. But it will also result in $4.7 billion in health benefits from avoided medical bills and lost wages.”

Three thought-provoking analogies for climate change: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/09/three-thought-provoking-analogies-for-climate-change/ “Though by definition no analogy is perfect, a good one can create a flash of insight or provoke thought. A strong analogy can clarify a point or an argument. It can bring dry facts to life, attaching them to images and emotions and showing us why they matter. And it can help us work through something complex and difficult.“

From Fashion Week To Fashion Future: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/09/10/from-fashion-week-to-fashion-future/ “The Swedish Fashion Council hit headlines this summer when it announced it was cancelling its annual fashion week due to sustainability concerns – with plans afoot to help companies reduce their environmental footprint instead. And amid the nature and climate crisis, now the pressure is mounting on other cities to rethink their own fashion weeks – which, some fashion watchers say, continue to promote an industry responsible for staggering rates of waste, pollution and emissions.”

Active travel & transport

UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/829841/uk-chief-medical-officers-physical-activity-guidelines.pdf “This report presents an update to the 2011 physical activity guidelines issued by the four Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK CMOs draw upon global evidence to present guidelines for different age groups, covering

the volume, duration, frequency and type of physical activity required across the life course to achieve health benefits.”

What future for the car? https://www.transporttimes.co.uk/news.php/What-future-for-the-car-454/ “The impetus to introduce electric propulsion for road vehicles is to eliminate carbon emissions, which requires the electricity supply system to be decarbonised in parallel. Electric propulsion also eliminates noxious tailpipe emissions and so improves urban air quality. The sustainability of road transport has long been a concern, initially because of reliance on non-renewable oil, and more recently on account of oil's contribution to global warming. Electrification goes a long way to mitigating this concern. Yet electric propulsion in place of the internal combustion engine does not significantly alter the behaviour of the car and driver.”

TfL to roll out 20mph limits in central London: https://www.localgov.co.uk/TfL-to-roll-out-20mph-limits-in-central-London/48102 “Transport for London (TfL) is set to take forward plans to lower speed limits on its roads across central London.”

Car-free school planned for Leeds: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/aug/30/britains-first-car-free-school-planned-for-leeds “A school being planned in Leeds will be among the first to be designed as car-free. It will form part of a multi-generational building that includes a care home for older people. The developers hope many children will walk to the 420-place primary school, which will have no parking spaces for staff or visitors and will discourage drop-offs.”

Air quality & pollution

Researchers find ‘clear link’ between air pollution exposure and dementia: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/04/researchers-find-clear-link-between-air-pollution-exposure-and-dementia/ “The first global study of its kind has found a ‘clear link’ between exposure to air pollution and developing dementia later in life. Australian researchers found that that rates of dementia were more likely when people were exposed over a long period of time to two types of air pollutants; particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrous oxides (NOx).”

MP proposes Clean Air Act to tackle toxic air: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/04/mp-proposes-clean-air-act-to-tackle-toxic-air/ “The Conservative MP Chris Philp has proposed a new Clean Air Act to improve air quality in the UK. The wide-ranging legislation looks at reducing air pollution in the UK by expanding the use of Clean Air Zones and banning vehicle idling outside schools. The act, backed by Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and fellow Tory MPs, would also restrict the sale of diesel vehicles and require local authorities to plant trees and promote electric buses and taxis.”

Multidecadal increase in plastic particles in coastal ocean sediments: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/9/eaax0587 “After correcting for contamination introduced during sample processing, we found an exponential increase in plastic deposition from 1945 to 2009 with a doubling time of 15 years. This increase correlated closely with worldwide plastic production and southern California coastal population increases over the same period… This increase in plastic deposition in the post–World War II years can be used as a geological proxy for the Great Acceleration of the Anthropocene in the sedimentary record.”

Worms fail to thrive in soil containing microplastics – study: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/12/worms-fail-to-thrive-in-soil-containing-microplastics-study “If the presence of microplastics inhibits earthworm growth on a wide scale, it could have implications for soil health and farming, as worms are vital part of the farmland soil ecosystem.”

Food & food security

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019: safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf “We must recognize the importance of safeguarding food security and nutrition in

times of economic difficulty. We must invest wisely during periods of economic booms to reduce economic vulnerability and build capacity to withstand and quickly recover when economic turmoil erupts.”

A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/poverty-reduction/creating-a-sustainable-food-future.html “The report offers a five-course menu of solutions to ensure we can feed 10 billion people by 2050 without increasing emissions, fueling deforestation or exacerbating poverty. Intensive research and modeling examining the nexus of the food system, economic development, and the environment show why each of the 22 items on the menu is important and quantifies how far each solution can get us.”

Food banks increasing in schools for pupils' families: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/education-49515117 “More schools in England are setting up food banks to help feed their pupils' families, according to the biggest school governors' organisation. The National Governance Association's annual survey found 8% of governors were in schools which had food banks - up from 7% last year.”

UK food banks run low as demand surges in school holidays: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/29/food-bank-supplies-low-demand-surges-school-holidays “Food banks in some of the UK’s poorest areas are running critically low on supplies because of a spike in demand during the school holidays. Organisers say more families are seeking help in the summer holidays than in previous years, yet donations are falling.”

World's largest urban farm to open – on a Paris rooftop: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/13/worlds-largest-urban-farm-to-open-on-a-paris-rooftop “Currently under construction in the south-west of the city, this urban oasis will span approximately 14,000 sq metres (150695 sq feet) – also making it the largest urban farm in Europe. With the plan to grow more than 30 different plant species, the site will produce around 1,000kg of fruit and vegetables every day in high season.”

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