The Climate and Health Alliance released the statement below on May 28.
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In the lead up to Rio+20 and the G20 Summit, Australian health groups are calling on Australian and international governments to abandon subsidies for fossil fuels in the interests of protecting human health and economic security.
The national coalition of health care stakeholders, the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), said the health and wellbeing of people in Australia and around the world was being put at risk by public subsidies to carbon intensive fossil fuels and must stop.
“Through our governments, Australian taxpayers provide almost $12 billion each year to subsidise fossil fuels – the same resources that cause untold harm to human health from air pollution and contribute to global changes that affect our weather patterns,” CAHA Convenor Fiona Armstrong said.
“In contrast, clean, renewable energy provides safer, healthier alternatives, and yet these energy sources, that offer Australia economic, social, environmental and health benefits, are not being subsidised to the same extent.”
The Climate and Health Alliance call comes as dozens of volunteers visit Canberra today to provide parliamentarians with the results of a national community poll on large scale solar energy — demonstrating that tens of thousands of Australians support a transformation away from coal and gas to renewable energy, including large scale solar thermal plants.
“Australians want and deserve energy systems that provide them with safe, clean renewable energy which does not pose health risks, provides us with electricity from our abundant natural energy sources such as the sun and the wind, and does not contribute to climate change.”
The Climate and Health Alliance is a signatory to the public statement from over 70 health, environment, and social justice non-government organisations, which calls on global leaders to act on their promise from 2009 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, currently worth over $700 billion annually.
CAHA Members: Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW); Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM); Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS); Australian Hospitals and Healthcare Association (AHHA); Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA); Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI); Australian Research Alliance of Children and Youth (ARACY); Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN); Australian Nursing Federation (ANF); Australian Psychological Society (APS); Australian Rural Health Education Network (ARHEN); CRANAplus; Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA); Doctors Reform Society; Friends of CAHA; Health Consumers’ Network (Qld); Health Issues Centre (HIC); Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA); Royal College of Nursing Australia (RCNA); Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP); North Yarra Community Health (NYCH); Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH); Women’s Health East; Women’s Health in the North; World Vision.