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Clean Energy For Health - NSW

Let's create a healthier future for all people in NSW!

The evidence is in: burning fossil fuels produces dangerous pollution that costs lives and increases disease, both from breathing air outdoors and from fossil fuel combustion in the home. The faster we switch to renewable energy the safer our communities will be. Burning fossil fuels is also the leading cause of climate change, which we've witnessed through recent fires and floods that put more strain on our already stretched health system.

Luckily, the solutions are available right now. South Australia and Tasmania have a 100% renewable energy target and the ACT has already achieved theirs. Yet NSW and WA are the last two states to have no renewable energy target at all. While the Renewable Energy Zones already announced will take NSW to 67% renewable energy by 2030, a legislated target would mean pollution-free energy for all.

In the lead up to this year's state election, we're calling for a bipartisan commitment from both major parties in NSW to support a policy of 100% renewable energy for NSW by 2030.

If you work or study in health, please sign the open letter.

If you’re a health organisation please email us here: [email protected]

If you don't work or study in health, we'd love you to share this page with your networks.

Organisational Signatories:

 

Healthy Futures NSW NMWA   EHA

150 Signatures

53 Signatures

Will you sign?

To: The Hon. Dom Perrottet, Premier, The Hon. Chris Minns MP, The Hon. Matt Kean MP, Mr Jihad Dib MP, The Hon. Brad Hazzard MP, Ms Ryan Park MLC

We, the undersigned healthcare workers, health organisations and health science students, call for a bipartisan commitment in advance of the 2023 state election for 100% of NSW’s stationary energy to be produced from renewable sources by 2030.

Outdoor air pollution from burning fossil fuels causes a range of illnesses including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes mellitus, asthma, lung cancers and other lung diseases, and can particularly harm pregnant people, children and people with pre-existing conditions [1,2,3]. It is now recognised as one of the world’s leading causes of morbidity and mortality, and in Australia has been estimated to cause 1451 premature deaths and 24881 years of life lost per year [4]. Burning fossil fuels indoors also harms health, with gas cooking recently estimated to cause 12.3% of childhood asthma [5,6].

Burning fossil fuels is also the leading cause of climate change, the biggest health threat of the 21st century [7]. In NSW we have seen firsthand physical and mental health impacts from increased extreme weather events such as bushfires and floods. During the 2019-20 bushfires an estimated 219 people in NSW died from smoke inhalation alone [8].

South Australia and Tasmania have already set targets of 100% renewable electricity by 2030, while the ACT has enjoyed 100% renewable electricity since 2020, protecting residents from price shocks caused by the surging costs of fossil fuels. While NSW is estimated to get to 67% renewable electricity by 2030 due to bipartisan support for Renewable Energy Zones, we can and must do better. [9]

With this in mind we request that you make a commitment that if elected in March 2023 your government will commit to implementing a plan for 100% of NSW’s stationary energy to be produced from renewable sources by 2030.

This plan must create greater certainty for communities in the Hunter, Illawarra and Lithgow, who have been most impacted by pollution, by setting clear dates for retirement of legacy assets. It must also respond to locally driven calls for regional authorities, funded structural adjustment plans and rehabilitation.

We urge you to protect people in NSW from the twin health threats of air pollution and climate change by taking the above action.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

 

[signatories]

 

[1] Lockwood, A.H., Welker-Hood, K., Rauch, M. and Gottlieb, B. (2009). Coal’s assault on human health: a report from Physicians for Social Responsibility, https://www.psr.org/blog/resource/coals-assault-on-human-health/


[2] Amster, E. and Lew Levy, C. (2019). Impact of coal-fired power plant emissions on children’s health: a systematic review of the epidemiological literature. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2008, https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/11/2008/htm

[3] McDuffie et al. (2021). Source sector and fuel contributions to ambient PM2.5 and attributable mortality across multiple spatial scales. Nature Communications 12, 3594 (2021), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-23853-y

[4] Lelieveld, J., Klingmüller, K., Pozzer, A., Burnett, R., Haines, A., Ramanathan, V. (2019) Effects of fossil fuel and total anthropogenic emission removal on public health and climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Apr 2019, 116 (15) 7192-7197, https://www.pnas.org/content/116/15/7192

[5] https://www.car-cre.org.au/gas-and-health-position-paper

[6] https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2018/208/7/damp-housing-gas-stoves-and-burden-childhood-asthma-australia

[7] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health

[8] https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2020/213/6/unprecedented-smoke-related-health-burden-associated-2019-20-bushfires-eastern (Box 2)

[9] https://www.climateworkscentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/CWA_State-and-territory-climate-action_October-2021.pdf

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