The report released by Environmental Justice Australia overnight, ‘Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities,’ shows the health risks we face from our needless reliance on coal. The report looks to 10 coal-fired power stations across Australia, including Gladstone and Stanwell in Queensland, and shows us that these stations are the biggest source of fine particle pollution in the country. This comes after issues with coal dust and coal-related pollution were in the Queensland media over the weekend. Australian pollution standards are less strict than those of China, the UK and the US. Our state regulators must change their policies to ones that support not only a livable climate but a clean and safe environment.
Those of us who've been paying attention know that coal is the kerosene lamp of today’s energy system. 10 coal-fired power stations have closed in the last decade, and this has led to health benefits for nearby communities. By continuing to support coal-fired power, our Government is drawing out the life of an unhealthy and costly fuel source to our detriment. Carefully managed closures of our plants are necessary to help communities transition to low carbon jobs and a sustainable economy.
Developments in clean energy are presenting massive improvements to generation, storage, and transmission. New wind and new solar are now the cheapest forms of power, and market forces are pushing coal out. The growing industry presents greater employment potential than fossil fuels. More and more customers are demanding clean energy or installing it themselves, while big businesses are adopting 100% renewable energy targets. We support the Queensland Government’s 50% renewable energy target by 2030. Our Energy Minister should be supporting best practice pollution controls and investing our tax payer dollars into the businesses and industries of the future. It’s clear there is not going to be an economic renaissance for coal – no matter where the Turnbull Government’s focus may lie. We need to cut our losses and build a future we can depend on.
For more information, go to http://www.envirojustice.org.au/sites/default/files/files/EJA_CoalHealth_final.pdf
To take action and write to your Minister, go to https://envirojustice.org.au/toxic-and-terminal-its-time-to-act