From the Australian Medical Students' Association

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust
Published online: 6 October 2014

AMSA has released a strong statement about renewable energy targets and the health of Australia in the light of the federal government’s decision to end support for renewable energy power stations.

Despite a review finding that the current renewable energy targets (RET) scheme was not only effective but capable of delivering a 26% share of electricity to Australians by 2020, the government has opted to end funding.

AMSA President, Jessica Dean, says the RET was crucial to promoting a healthier and cleaner Australia.

“The use of non-renewable energy, such as coal, has direct impacts on the health and wellbeing of communities and is detrimental to at least three of our National Health Priority Areas: cancer control, cardiovascular health and asthma”, Ms Dean says.

“Coal-fired power generation results in air pollution that contributes to the development and exacerbation of lung diseases, ischaemic heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in Australia.

“AMSA is also disappointed that the review failed to adequately address the health benefits of the RET, despite a submission made by us.”

Furthermore, combustion of fossil fuels also contributes to climate change, which will amplify a broad range of health issues currently faced in Australia.

“Climate change is recognised by health professionals as one of the greatest threats to health. To protect Australians from the most severe health risks, our government must take strong action to mitigate climate change”, Ms Dean says.

“Whilst the Australian government continues to scale back action on climate change, the World Health Organization is currently holding a conference specifically addressing the health impacts of climate change in Geneva.”

  • Cate Swannell



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