Media release

More proof that coal mining is bad for the community

Climate and Health Alliance calls for phasing out of coal mines 


Revelations that Australian coal miners have been diagnosed with black lung highlights there are no winners when it comes to mining and burning coal, the Climate and Health Alliance says.


Four people have been diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease, while unions fear hundreds more could be affected.


Australian National University fellow and CAHA president Dr Liz Hanna says this is a wakeup call for Australia.


“This is yet more evidence that coal kills,” Dr Hanna said.


Coal mining impacts the health and wellbeing of everyone. Coal miners, communities near the mines, all those along transport corridors and export sites, as well as the people who live where coalis burned are all directly exposed to hazardous air pollution from coal.


“Exposure can lead to heart, kidney and lung disease, and has also been found to impact neurological development.”


Dr Hanna says Australians are the largest per capita consumer of coal, which provides 70% of Australia’s electricity. Coal has the highest carbon content of all the fossil fuel, making it the dirtiest.


“If everyone in the world used as much coal as Australians, global emissions of greenhouse gases would be 560% higher,” she said.


“Our coal is causing climate mayhem, which is destroying the planet and our health.”


“New coal mine projects should be banned and existing mines should be rapidly phased out.”


Earlier this year a Climate and Health Alliance report quantified the health costs of coal mining.


It found burning coal for electricity in the Hunter Valley alone could leave tax payers with a $600 million annual health bill as a result from air pollution.


“The health of millions could be vastly improved if we sped up the transition to clean energy.”