The Coalition’s National Energy Guarantee plan could see an extra 15,000 premature deaths over the next ten years, doctors warn ahead of the COAG meeting on energy in Hobart on Friday.
Doctors for the Environment Australia says the latest modelling from both Frontier Economics for the Energy Security Board and Ernst & Young for the Climate Council, suggests the NEG will be a disaster for the health of Australians. The NEG will not reduce the alarming rates of sickness and deaths across the nation caused by global warming and fossil fuel pollution.
Spokesperson for DEA, Dr Chris Juttner, says: “Is the Coalition prepared to see a possible 15,000 early and unnecessary Australian deaths (1500x 10 over 10 years) assuming no improvement in air quality regulation and no reduction in coal power stations because they support coal to appease their right wing climate deniers and retain power?”
DEA represents hundreds of medical experts across Australia, and is supported by a Nobel laureate, recipients of the Australian of the Year award and many other distinguished health professionals.
Dr Juttner says the NEG totally fails to meet Australia’s needs in energy transition, mitigation and adaptation.
“The Frontier Economics NEG modelling released yesterday shows minimal reduction in black and brown coal and gas generation between 2020 and 2030 (from 75% of generation mix to 64%), says Dr Juttner. “Solar PV and wind are modelled to increase from 18% to 28%.
“The appalling health implications of coal will be largely undiminished.
” Coal contributes to an estimated 3000 early deaths annually in Australia from air pollution, about half from coal mining and combustion, causing asthma attacks, chronic lung disease, lung cancer, dementia, heart attacks and stroke.
“Under the NEG scenario fossil fuels will also continue to add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, causing further Australian deaths due to heat-stroke, bushfires, drowning in floods and storm surges, trauma in cyclones, infection with warm-weather diseases, suicide in stressed farming communities and more.”
DEA has written to State and Territory leaders ahead of the COAG meeting this week, strongly urging them to reject the NEG, establishing sensible and effective national energy policies to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Says Dr Juttner, “Expert analysis suggests that the Energy Security Board’s incorrect assumptions on renewable energy costs and its confused thinking on ‘dispatchability’ make the proposal seriously ill conceived.
“The States should reject the NEG, a Trojan horse for the coal industry’s pushers.
“Unlike the Coalition, the states are already moving towards a responsible renewable future.
“As doctors, we support rational energy policies, closure of fossil fuel generation and transition to renewable energy because we work for the health and survival of our patients and communities.”
Letter to States and territory leaders