Health groups in Australia are part of a global effort involving more than 300,000 doctors, nurses and public health professionals and advocates from 30 countries calling on G7 nations to accelerate the transition away from coal to save lives.
Climate and Health Alliance (Australia), Australian Health Promotion Association and Doctors Reform Society are among 82 organisations signing a ‘Global Health Statement’ outlining the huge benefits to both human health and economies from shifting away from coal.
Using coal to generate electricity worsens respiratory and cardiovascular disease in local populations and is one of the largest single contributors to climate change, described as “the greatest threat to global health of the 21st century” by the World Health Organisation.
The G7 meeting in Japan this month will be one of the first major international gatherings since leaders committed to meaningful climate action in Paris, and will include discussions on strengthening responses to public health emergencies.
Signatories to the Global Health Statement say all G7 countries need to speed up their efforts to phase out coal, to prevent the worst health effects of climate change. They say momentum is building among many G7 countries, but Australia is moving in the opposite direction, expanding coal and failing to support the transition to renewable energy.
“Australia’s behaviour is inconsistent and counter to its own and global interests on energy policy,” Climate and Health Alliance President Dr Liz Hanna said. “With the ink barely dry from signing the global climate Paris Agreement last month, the Environment Minister [Greg Hunt] raced home to approve yet another mega-coal mine in Queensland.”
The Global Health Statement on coal plants is available at cape.ca/global-health-statement-on-coal-plants/