Leading doctors call on BHP’s shareholders to cut ties with the Australian Minerals Council— a major influencer of the nation’s pro-coal and anti-renewables position which harms not only the health of Australians but people all over the world.
This call comes on the back of the Australian federal government’s rejection this week of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s recommendation for a Clean Energy Target in favour of a National Energy Guarantee plan that boosts fossil fuel generation.
Doctors for the Environment Australia, a medical group which is supported by a Nobel laureate, recipients of the Australia of the Year award and other distinguished health experts, says this plan will reduce Australia’s capacity to fulfill its Paris obligations and to do its fair share of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.
DEA’s Chair Professor Kingsley Faulkner, who is also a former president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH), as well as the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), says:
“As the largest coal exporter by volume, Australia must be held accountable for its actions in Australia and globally.
“News that resources giant BHP is under pressure to formerly cut its links with the powerful mining lobby group Minerals Council Australia, because the company’s continued membership contradicts its climate policy, could be a seminal moment in the fight against coal— and one that is much welcome from the medical profession.
“The use of coal for energy is well past its use-by-date: the burning of this deadly fuel is the biggest contributor to the climate chaos we are currently witnessing, and to worsening air pollution both in Australia and around the world.
“Failure to take this threat seriously will continue to cost our health and healthcare services.
“Similarly to the campaign against tobacco, the coal industry is fighting its inevitable death with sustained misrepresentation, obfuscation and manipulation of the scientific and medical facts. Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s recent speech in London extolling the virtues of climate change is an example of this.
“BHP’s distancing itself from the MCA could have a positive flow on effect on shareholder and corporate awareness of the dangers of climate change.
“Corporate clout would have a major influence on policy internationally and on negating the denialist views of governments such as Australia and the US, benefitting human health and the environment on which we depend.”