Leadership on addressing climate change involves an urgent increase in the use of renewable energy to replace greenhouse producing fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels for energy production is harmful to health both within Australia and internationally.
The co-benefits of doing this are a reduction in the huge health costs from cardio-respiratory disease caused by using fossil fuels for our energy needs.
The renewable energy sources wind wave and solar, have not been shown scientifically to have any health impacts. These modalities should be regarded as a key preventative health strategy.
A more rapid increase in renewable energy deployment is essential in fulfilling Australia’s commitment to green-house emission abatement and in holding world temperature rise to less than 2°C.
Doctors for the Environment Australia has welcomed the NSW Government's electricity infrastructure roadmap for the orderly switch of NSW's energy supply from coal to renewable energy sources. The burning of coal imposes a direct health burden on the people of NSW through air pollution, and an indirect burden through climate change, worsening bushfires, droughts and extreme weather.
The Victorian Government is to be congratulated for its decision to drive the COVID-19 recovery with investments in clean energy ('A shot in the arm:' Victoria backs clean energy in bid to fuel COVID-19 recovery, The Age, 1 Sep). With Australia still reeling from a summer of fires and smoke pollution that contributed to thousands of hospital admissions and hundreds of deaths, this not only represents a means of creating jobs and stimulating the economy but also protecting health.
The Australian Government invited brief commentary on their Technology Roadmap to guide investment in energy generation over the next few decades. One key concept in this Roadmap is the notion of technology “neutrality”. However, this concept should be rejected as technologies are not equivalent in their potential to reduce emissions. There are sufficient zero-emitting technologies available for further development without wasting resources on fossil-fuels. The Roadmap also fails as it does not have a “destination”, that is, a well-defined emissions-reduction target. For details of DEA’s submission, see here.
Doctors for the Environment Australia members urge the Morrison Government to seek an alternative to a gas led recovery from the Covid19 pandemic. With Australia's abundance of solar and wind energy capabilities, a renewable energy led recovery will protect both the environment and human health. Head to https://turnoffthegas.good.do/turnoffthegas/
It is extraordinary that Energy Minister Angus Taylor continues to cling to a fossil fuel past at a time when Australia’s emissions are still rising and the urgency required for global action on climate change mounts, writes Dr Graeme McLeay. What we really need is the Energy Minister and his government to see the tremendous opportunities in sun, wind and wave and to steer our country towards a clean energy future that doesn’t cost our health, our planet or our pockets.
"It is about time that Chris Kenny was pilloried for distorting the truth on renewable energy (The Australian August 12)," Dr John Iser wrote in a Letter to the Editor submitted to the Australian which we understand was not published.
It is important for the development of the vital renewable energy industry that appropriate developments proceed in order to build the skill base and employment opportunities for people working in the renewable energy industry in order to improve and accelerate the rollout of these projects over the coming decade.
DEA's Dr David Shearman and Prof. Melissa Haswell write that while state governments are embracing our urgent need for renewable energy transitions, regulations for large housing developments are lagging behind, facing mandated connections to gas infrastructure within their contracts. Mandatory gas connections are anti-choice, anti-competitive and contrary to combatting climate change.
A new report out today by Honorary Associate Professor, NSW, Mark Diesendorf, published by the Australia Institute is a road map to a 100% renewable electricity system, essential if Australia is to play its part in limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
The federal government has been bullishly promoting its proposed signature energy policy, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), which aims to ensure reliable and affordable ongoing electricity supply, despite rogue elements within the party, led by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who are set on derailing it. But there are important reasons why Australia doctors should reject the NEG, write Drs Chris Juttner and John Iser. Read more -->
It is predictable that an economist (Comment, The Australian 19/6) would look purely at economics to downplay the necessity of emissions reduction. To use simplified and somewhat distorted economics without considering the science of climate change and its broader repercussions on the biosphere does us no service.
THE 2018 Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference to discuss better ways to dig fossil fuels out of the Earth wrapped up in Adelaide recently and it’s a sure bet they did not discuss your health. A report by consulting firm Deloitte presented at APPEA reveals oil and gas executives see electric vehicles as a threat to their industry. They are right to be worried about their bottom line, writes Dr Graeme McLeay.
On April 14, Doctors for the Environment Australia's national conference issued a joint statement to state and territory Energy Ministers from 150 concerned GPs, emergency doctors, public health physicians, paediatricians, physicians, surgeons, medical students and other health specialists. It said: “As doctors, we call on the energy ministers to enact energy policy that protects public health as a matter of priority”. Read on.
The National Energy Guarantee (NEG) and Turnbull Government's current energy policy have significant adverse health implications, causing deaths and illness, in Australia and globally. Health is totally ignored in their deliberations.
The consultation paper is fundamentally flawed in failing to include health considerations from air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions which have considerable costs to human health and the nation.
After a successful eight -year community led campaign, the SA government recently announced that the world’s largest stand-alone concentrated solar thermal (CST) power plant will begin construction in Port Augusta. This will transform a city which was powered by ageing coal fired power stations into a city with a bright future as a renewable energy hub in the 21st century. What’s more, doctors and medical students were a major driving force behind this decision, writes Dr Ingo Weber with AMA vice-president Dr Chris Moy.
Submission to the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) on
– Alinta Energy Reeves Plains Power Station, comprising the construction of a 300 MW capacity gas fired peaking power station
– AGL Energy Grand Trunkway, Torrens Island, comprising the construction of a two stage power station with a total capacity of 420 MW
In making this submission we consider both projects together as they share commonalities of concern to us.At this time, when global warming is shaping an energy transformation around the world, South Australia is recognised as a leader in renewable energy. To turn to fossil fuel power generation in order to fill a shortfall in capacity is regressive and cannot be justified on health grounds (or economic grounds, given the price of gas).
Download the DEA Submission to the State Commission Assessment Panel SCAP 11-17
With mining interests calling for new high efficiency coal fired power stations to be built in the Hunter region, it is time to examine the health effects of these proposed plants.
Australia’s energy debate needs to consider mounting evidence that unconventional gas extraction poses a serious risk to human health, argues David Shearman.
Doctors slam yet another review of Australia’s electricity supply, saying it raises questions of probity, and also delays efforts to reduce green-house gas emissions from dirty energy production that is harming our health.
DEA notes that the Climate Change Authority (CCA) will join with the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to review an Independent Review into the Future Security of the NEM. The report of this Independent Review is not yet available, so why there has to be further review of an unpublished Review is problematic and raises questions of probity.
I had felt deeply uncomfortable about my contribution to climate change for decades. My electricity and car were powered by fossil fuels. My groceries were trucked and flown in from distant places. My bank invested in coal, oil and gas.
With the first of RenewWA’s climate forums starting today at Edith Cowan University in W.A., Amy Marshall from Doctors for the Environment goes in to bat for renewable energy.
Many salutory lessons arise from this fascinating account of the role of health and medical expertise in the successful closure of polluting power stations in South Australia.
THE Federal Government and state Liberals are demanding that Jay Weatherill’s Government should reopen the Port Augusta coal-fired power station.
Doctors for the Environment Australia recommends that the present budget for ARENA be maintained as a preventative health measure.
Australia must shelve plans to make gas a “transitional fuel” because it will worsen the climate change emergency, warn health experts in response to last Fridays COAG meeting of energy ministers.
Energy ministers are being urged to put clean energy at the top of the COAG agenda to protect health.
Leading health experts are calling on the country’s energy ministers to make a firm commitment for a rapid replacement of coal and gas with renewable energy at Friday’s COAG meeting.
Doctors have today described comments that renewable energy from solar and wind are causing the SA power “crisis” as disingenuous because they ignore the hefty costs of coal and gas to public health and to the health budget.
South Australia’s recent Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has recommended avoiding some bad options: no nuclear power generation and no reprocessing or fuel leasing in the foreseeable future.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), climate change from global warming is one of the greatest threats to public health and it will affect, in profoundly adverse ways, some of the most fundamental pre-requisites for good health: clean air and water, sufficient food, adequate shelter and freedom from disease……..
Stationary energy, as a sector, is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions globally and in Australia.
Renewable energy comes from natural sources which are constantly replenished.
“Clean air, clean water and food three pillars of good health, say doctors”
Doctors have today condemned the Government’s announcement to weaken the Renewable Energy Target, saying it will increase the number of deaths and sickness across Australia- especially among vulnerable people such as children, the elderly and those with chronic illness.
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) Chair, Professor Kingsley Faulkner wrote to Mr Richard Warburton, Chair of the Renewable Endergy Target Review to express DEA’s concern about the process and expected outcomes of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Review.
Port Augusta has experienced pollution from its power stations for many years.
This recent report, co-authored by the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) and the Climate Insitute, draws together the many ways in which we can improve health (whilst saving money) by acting to limit climate instability. DEA is part of CAHA, which is an alliance of health organisations. As such, all DEA members can feel pleased they have contributed to the publication of documents such as this.
Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that increasing green house emissions are responsible for the climate change which is having health impacts throughout the world.
The patients suffered from nervous excitability, with buzzing noises in the ear, giddiness, and neuralgic pains … in some cases …objective lesions, such as a subinflammatory condition of the membrane tympani … All the trouble speedily vanishes if the ear is allowed a sufficient measure of physiological rest; this it can only obtain by the cause of the evil being withdrawn. The victims … seem all to be of markedly nervous organization, and the moral may be drawn that such persons should not use the telephone. British Medical Journal, September 21, 1889
Solar energy has no health hazards and low green house emissions. Germany forges ahead with its use. Some Australian states are reducing their commitment to solar and indeed Queensland has recently cancelled a project at Cloncurry approved by the previous government. It prefers coal seam gas although this threatens farming land and water resources.
There is an important public health message for power producers and governments. It is no longer appropriate to harm people by burning air polluting fossil fuels when there are healthy alternatives.
Fossil fuels are responsible for a significant disease burden in our community contributing to climate change. Wind power and other renewable energies have the potential to reduce threats to health through reduction in air pollution and mitigation of climate change.
This article describes the Feed-In Scheme for Small-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Installations in South Australia
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) has major concerns about the expected effects of climate change on human health and well being. We have recently released nationally and internationally a report on this topic. It is therefore appropriate that we submit to this Senate Committee to emphasise that a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is urgent and the only way that this can be quickly accomplished is by encouraging energy saving and expanding renewable energy provision. The situation is urgent because recent scientific reports are showing that the harmful effects of climate change are arising much faster than anticipated from IPCC data. There is increasing danger that climate change may become irreversible.
I would like to alert DEA members and invite them to give their support to the Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre in Coniston, Wollongong. Futureworld is a not for profit community based organization almost entirely dependent on volunteers. The Centre also has strong connections to the University of Wollongong.
The Eco-Technology Centre will be opening shortly and will exhibit cutting edge, developing and current commercially available environmentally friendly technologies including energy saving technologies. Three Illawarra environmental technology world firsts, the Solar Sailor, Energetec’s Wave Power and Brightstar Environmental Solid Waste to Energy (SWERF) will be demonstrated.