Coal and gas mining has an invisible and preventable emissions problem, the leaking and flaring of methane.
This potent greenhouse gas, 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide is fuelling the climate crisis. Methane emissions from Australian mines alone are significantly higher than official figures suggest, thanks to inadequate measurement and lax regulations.
Here at Healthy Futures, we represent health workers who want to take climate action, and the scientific experts say addressing fossil methane emissions is one of the most meaningful pathways forward.
The Fossil Methane Problem:
Coal and gas companies often underreport methane emissions, allowing harmful leaks to pollute our ecosystems. This lack of transparency hides the true impact of fossil fuel pollution, hindering effective interventions.
- Methane is responsible for one-third of global heating, fueling extreme weather events like floods and fires. It harms public health by exacerbating global warming, worsening respiratory illnesses, and impacting food security.
- Coal and gas companies significantly underreport methane emissions, exposing communities and ecosystems to harm.
- Weak to non-existent government regulations allow companies to pollute with impunity. Australia's current policy landscape must catch up to its international methane reduction commitments.
Fuelling a Public Health Crisis:
Fossil methane's contribution to climate change poses a dire threat to human health as well as being a significant environmental issue. Rising temperatures and worsening air pollution exacerbate climate change impacts, triggering increasingly significant, widespread:
- Respiratory illnesses: Increased ground-level ozone and particulate matter aggravate asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases. This disproportionately impacts children, the elderly, and communities living near gas and coal operations.
- Heat-related illnesses: Extreme heat waves fueled by climate change lead to heatstroke, dehydration, and increased cardiovascular strain, particularly for vulnerable populations.
- Food insecurity: Climate change disrupts agricultural patterns, causing droughts, floods, and crop failures, threatening food availability and affordability.
Currently, a lack of strong government regulations allows companies to prioritise profits over public health. This inaction exacerbates the dangers of fossil fuels, leaving communities exposed to harmful air pollution and climate-related health risks. The health impacts of climate change and fossil methane demand immediate action. By addressing methane emissions, we can protect public health and buy time for broader climate action.
Health workers are committed to best practices and transparency, and as such, we demand accountability from Australia’s biggest polluters and from the governments that regulate dirty polluting industries. We urge our community to join the fight for clean air and a stable climate.
Tackling methane offers a fast track to climate action. By slashing emissions, we can buy time to transition to clean energy and protect our environment and public health.
Zero Methane, Zero Excuses
Together, we can demand stricter regulations, hold polluters accountable, and invest in clean energy solutions. We demand a National Methane Action Plan with strict targets to eliminate coal and gas mining emissions. This includes:
- Accurate monitoring: Employ advanced satellites and ground-based technologies to track methane leaks accurately.
- Zero-tolerance regulations: Implement strict leak detection and repair protocols, penalising non-compliance.
- Investing in solutions: Support new methane capture and utilisation technologies, creating green jobs and reducing emissions.
Call to Action:
Climate change is a health crisis. Tackling methane emissions is not just about protecting the environment; it's about safeguarding health and well-being. Join us in demanding Methane Zero for Australia.
*Campaign Launching Soon*