September 11, 2023
Health workers are calling on the NSW Government to stick to the Eraring coal power station’s current closure date for the sake of the community’s health.
Ten health organisations, representing more than 20,000 Australian health professionals, have written an open letter to NSW Premier Chris Minns warning that any extension beyond the current closure date in 2025 would endanger the health of NSW residents. They’re urging more investment in renewable energy instead.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners NSW & ACT Faculty, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Healthy Futures, the Climate and Health Alliance, the Australasian Epidemiological Association, the Public Health Association of Australia, Asthma Australia, Lung Foundation Australia and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand collectively represent over 20,000 health professionals and support millions of Australians living with asthma and other health conditions.
In the letter, they write:
"As with all coal power stations, Eraring emits toxic pollutants that can cause cardiovascular disease, asthma exacerbations, lung cancers, diabetes mellitus, intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, and a range of other illnesses… Greenhouse gas emissions from Eraring and other coal power stations are a major driver of climate change which threatens Australians’ health by increasing the risk of potentially deadly heatwaves, bushfires and storms… To limit these health impacts New South Wales must replace fossil fuel-based energy with renewable energy as fast as possible."
The full letter can be viewed online at www.healthyfutures.net.au/eraring
Professor Charlotte Hespe, Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners NSW & ACT Faculty, said: “RACGP supports the call to Premier Minns and his Government to address greenhouse gas emissions from Eraring and other coal power stations. Greenhouse gases are a major driver of climate change, which threatens every Australian’s health by increasing the risk of potentially deadly heatwaves, bushfires and storms, affecting food and water supplies and increasing the spread of infectious diseases.”
Dr Nicholas Williams, Co-Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia NSW, said: “If we are to improve our health and protect ourselves from future climate impacts, we must stop burning coal”.
Associate Professor Brigid Lynch, President of the Australasian Epidemiological Association, said: “Epidemiologists have been reporting the health consequences of exposure to pollutants from coal fired power stations for decades. Epidemiological modelling now foresees a growing burden of poor health and premature mortality directly linked to climate change.”
Associate Professor Kate McBride, President of the NSW Branch of the Public Health Association of Australia, said: “The NSW Government cannot justify keeping the power station open at the expense of taxpayers and has no time to waste in retiring coal-fired power and replacing it with renewable energy sources. Urgent action is needed by the NSW Government, or the health consequences of climate change will worsen."
Available for interview:
- Professor Charlotte Hespe, Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners NSW&ACT Faculty
- Dr Nicholas Williams, Co-Chair of the Doctors for the Environment Australia NSW Branch
- Associate Professor Kate McBride, President of the Public Health Association of Australia NSW Branch
- Dr Harry Jennens, Coordinator of Healthy Futures
Carmela Ferraro, Doctors for the Environment Australia Media and Communications Lead, 0410 703 074