Health Issues with Fossil Fuels

29th August 2014

Dr George Crisp, a Perth GP,  and national committee member of Doctors for the Environment Australia writes for ABC Environemnent (29/8/14):

"The Renewable Energy Target review panel's recommendation to severely downgrade the RET ignores the fact it is that is more than justified as an effective public health measure alone. ...

"Quite simply, burning fossil fuels produces a range of harmful air pollutants and other waste products, as well as carbon dioxide. And these air pollutants result in very significant and well-documented community health costs.

"We have in fact known for centuries that air pollution causes ill health. What has not been appreciated up until quite recently is just how much of a burden of ill health occurs from long-term low-level exposure to air pollution, even at levels found in Australian cities.

"From a range of diseases that includes heart disease, stroke, asthma, emphysema and lung cancer, more than 3,000 deaths each year are attributable to outdoor air pollution in Australia's four biggest cities. ...

"There is also consistent evidence that reducing levels of air pollution results in health benefits. The 2011 US EPA review of their Clean Air Act concluded that every dollar spent on cleaner air produced $30 in health benefits."

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