Doctors for the Environment Australia are dismayed by the inadequacies of the Draft Energy White Paper (EWP).
It must be rewritten with input from health, agriculture, economics, environmental and climate change science and also from renewable energy industries.
The EWP repeats short-sighted 20th century thinking by ignoring the real (full) costs and consequences of large scale pollution.
“Air pollution is hugely damaging to both our health and economy, costing at least $10 billion annually, yet it is ignored. This appeases the coal and gas industries and hides the true cost of coal, which in reality is the most expensive fuel” said Dr George Crisp.
Climate change is now considered the biggest threat to humans in the coming century, resulting in large financial and social costs through ill health.
“The energy choices we make now will be a major determinant of our future health. Yet there is no integration with climate policy in the EWP; indeed many of the measures will effectively prevent or reverse planned emissions reductions” he said.
This will make worse Australia’s increasingly poor emissions performance as evidenced by the Climate Institute’s Global Climate Leadership Review issued Monday.
The EWP confuses energy security with resource development for domestic use and for export. This ignores the reality that climate change can only be achieved by early and progressive reduction in global coal use.
Dr. David Shearman said that “The idea that we can improve long term energy security and reduce our greenhouse emissions by large scale development of unconventional gas is frankly dangerous and unscientific”.
“A healthy future for Australia can be enhanced by transition to renewable energy, public transport and energy saving. The EWP largely squanders this golden opportunity and proposes for the next decades to leave renewable energy to swim in a polluted sea with subsidised business-as-usual industries”.
Dr George Crisp 0422 057 351
Dr David Shearman 08 8339 3972
Doctors for the Environment Australia Inc is a voluntary organisation of medical doctors in all Australian states and territories. The organisation works to address the diseases – local, national and global – caused by damage to the earth’s environment. In effect it is an independent public health organisation.
The detailed analysis of the Energy White Paper is at http://dea.org.au/images/uploads/submissions/Draft_Energy_White_Paper.pdf
Further information is provided in an article published Tuesday 20th March in Renew Economy http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/energy-white-paper-the-true-cost-of-backwards-thinking-87401
Dr George Crisp is a member of the Management Committee of Doctors for the Environment Australia
Dr David Shearman, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, is Honorary Secretary of Doctors for the Environment Australia