Media release NEG “plus”: We need a national plan on power—but not one that’s toxic to health, urge doctors

Doctors are making a last minute plea to politicians at tomorrow’s Coalition party room meeting to reject proposals underwriting investment on new coal power plants in exchange for support of  the NEG national power plan, as this hazardous fuel would lead to more deaths and illness.

Spokesperson for Doctors for the Environment Australia, Dr Chris Juttner says so-called “clean coal” is a myth created to whitewash the dangers coal has on our health.  New build coal power is also much more expensive than renewables with storage.

“Australia has one of the world’s most carbon intensive and polluting electricity supply systems in the world because of our reliance on coal,” says Dr Juttner. “We need to be transitioning away from coal not giving it a makeover to make it appealing and certainly not opening the door to more of the same.

“Coal –fired power generation emits hazardous pollution that contributes to the leading causes of death in our society.

“These include heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and lung cancer. Coal pollutants can affect development in children and trigger asthma attacks.”

Dr Juttner says that coal is also a major driver of climate change whose impacts we are already experiencing through extreme and chaotic weather patterns in Australia and across the world. Look at the wildfires in California, Spain, Sweden and Portugal.

“Continuing to pump emissions into the atmosphere will risk run-away climate change which scientific modelling suggests will be catastrophic for not only our health, but our very survival.  A recent article in PNAS with Australian Will Steffen as lead author suggests we are closer to a climate tipping point than previously thought.

“We can and must have a stronger emissions target, especially as Australia is home to plentiful sun, wind, hydro, wave and other renewable alternatives.

“As doctors, we strongly call all ministers and backbenchers attending tomorrow’s Coalition party room to have as their primary focus the health and wellbeing of our communities when planning our energy future.”

Key notes

·       Friday’s COAG meeting refused to support the NEG because of its low emissions target and resolved to keep    negotiating

·       The Federal Government will discuss the policy at a Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday 

·       There is a strong possibility that Prime Minister Turnbull will offer to underwrite billions of dollars in investment in new coal assets in order to gain support for the controversial National Energy Guarantee

·       Dispatchable power is NOT limited to coal.  The Horndale TESLA  big battery in South Australia has convincingly shown this in its first 10 months of operation

Media contact
 Dr Chris Juttner, please contact Carmela Ferraro on 04107 03074 to arrange an interview

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