News & Media Opinion Pieces Big Coal: A burning economic and health issue

Big Coal: A burning economic and health issue

The health effects of radiation in the wake of Japan’s disaster are still unclear – see here or here for more information. But, closer to home, it is a good time to look at the health impacts of carbon, with Professor Ross Garnaut set to release his next carbon pricing update today at the National Press Club. David Shearman says the health of millions of people is affected by coal.

Coal has powered a welcome evolution of society, but as the ill-effects of burning coal have become increasingly apparent, so too it seems, has the temptation to neglect the real costs including the ill health conferred on millions.

This ill-health has remained an externality of coal combustion. Like the tobacco companies, Big Coal has not paid restitution for the human morbidity and mortality. Surely this must be re-examined when compensation for the forthcoming carbon tax is claimed by an industry which already receives government subsidies?

….read the remainder here.