There is clear evidence from the international health literature that living near coal mines or coal power stations causes serious harm to people’s health.
Burning coal is also the single largest cause of global warming, which the world’s leading medical journal, The Lancet, has described as “the biggest health threat of the 21st century”.
The Health and Social Harms of Mining in Local Communities: Spotlight on the Hunter Region Report.
Commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions.
- The report looks at 50 peer-reviewed studies on the health and social impacts of coal mining and combustion on local communities around the world.
- It highlights a number of adverse health effects reported from a diverse range of countries. These effects range from excess deaths and increased rates of cancer, heart, lung and kidney disease and birth defects to minor respiratory complaints.
- It is likely that many of these impacts – especially those experienced by communities in comparable countries – would also apply in Australia. Yet there are no primary studies addressing the health impacts of coal in Australia.
Against this backdrop there are at least 30 new coal mines and mine expansions planned for the Hunter Valley. An enormous new coal export terminal in Newcastle that would at least double the region’s coal export capacity is on the verge of approval without any health impact assessment being undertaken.
Beyond Zero Emissions hopes this report will play a role in better informing policy debates on this urgent issue.
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Our research is showing that Australia can rapidly move to a zero carbon emissions economy. We can become a renewable energy superpower, grasping a secure and prosperous future. View a brief overview of our plans for this transition.
Beyond Zero Emissions is having impact, for example: (1) Our 2012 report, Repowering Port Augusta, and our advocacy eventually led to the 2017 $680 million contract for a solar thermal plant in South Australia, and (2) BZE has been ranked as one of the best independent think tanks in the world, by the Lauder Institute in Pennsylvania USA.
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