Our Work Health & Energy

Health & Energy

Health & Energy covers a lot of topics we hear about every day, including Coal, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Transport, and The Built Environment.

Please click the titles below to read more about each of these topics.

Coal is a major source of rising greenhouse gas causing climate change. The burning of coal emits hazardous air pollutants, including particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, mercury and arsenic. Australia has one of the most carbon intensive and polluting electricity supplies in the world. By investing in renewable energy sources and rapidly transitioning from fossil fuels, we can save lives and improve health immediately due to improved local environments, prevent unmanageable climate change with its associated devastating health consequences, and make sound economic investments in Australia’s future.

The fossil gas industry is a major source of the powerful greenhouse gas methane which is responsible for around 25% of global heating. Gas also contributes significantly to rising levels of carbon dioxide.
Gas extraction is polluting. Good health is dependent on having clean air, clean water, a safe sustainable food supply and a stable climate. There are serious threats to these determinants of health from unconventional gas development. They relate to water, land and air pollution by chemicals used and mobilised in the process, water security, degradation of productive agricultural land, community health and loss of livelihood and landscape.

Leadership on addressing climate change involves an urgent increase in the use of renewable energy to replace greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels for energy production is harmful to health both within Australia and internationally. The co-benefits of renewable energy are a reduction in the huge health costs from fossil fuel pollution. 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, in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Transport is both a major source of greenhouse gas increases and an important source of air pollution causing multiple health problems. Active transport in walking and cycling mitigates both these effects and reduces the incidence of diabetes, obesity and hypertension by reducing sedentary behaviours. Investment in efficient electrified public transport is an investment in health.

The way our public buildings and private dwellings are built and the sort of energy they require are important factors in mitigating climate change and optimising a liveable environment. Urban design to promote green spaces and reduce vehicle pollution brings multiple health benefits.