Health professionals join school strikers' in calling for end to gas

Friday 21 May 2021

Health professionals across Australia will join students and young people at the nationally coordinated School Strike for Climate today, which calls for an end to publicly funded gas projects in Australia.

Fiona Armstrong, Executive Director of Australia’s peak body on climate change and health, the Climate and Health Alliance, said health experts backed the School Strikers’ call of stopping natural gas expansion in Australia, given its significant health effects.

“The health effects of gas are wide-ranging, including migraines, fatigue, skin conditions, infections, asthma, cancer, and more. Foetuses and babies are especially vulnerable. Exposure to gas can lead to preterm births, low birth weight, congenital conditions and even infant mortality,” Ms Armstrong said

“Australians should be made aware of the harmful health effects of gas, given the “gas-fired recovery planned by the federal government. The health effects of gas are far-reaching and affect human health at all stages of production, from toxic substances used in the extraction process, to harmful indoor air pollution when gas is used in homes, as well as driving the dangerous public health emergency of climate change.”

GP Dr Kate Wylie will be speaking at the Adelaide Climate Strike on the health dangers of gas. “Burning gas is really bad for our health. It causes asthma and difficulty breathing in our children and slows down their brain development.”

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Climate and Health Alliance Executive Director, Fiona Armstrong:
“The health effects of gas alone should be more than enough to scupper any federal plans for a “gas-fired” recovery. It’s obvious investing in this dirty fossil fuel has no place in a healthy economic recovery for Australia. Instead, we need a recovery plan which is centred on health, fairness and sustainability, and which will help us achieve the necessary and substantial greenhouse gas reductions required by 2030 to limit further global warming.”

Adelaide-based GP, Dr Kate Wylie:
“Burning gas is really bad for our health. It causes asthma and difficulty breathing in our children and slows down their brain development. Gas molecules cross the placenta and gas poisoning in pregnancy increases the risk of fetal death and low birth weight babies.

“Just like coal, gas drives global warming, accelerating the climate crisis, which is the greatest health risk of our time. Gas is not a transition fuel, gas is a carbon bomb.”

Sydney nurse, Sarah Ellyard:
“Through contamination of water, air and land, the extraction of gas poses unacceptable health risks to nearby communities. As a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions and a driver of the climate crisis, gas also poses unacceptable health risks to the global community.”

“To protect our health we must urgently move away from all fossil fuels, including gas.”

Nurse and Medical Association for the Prevention of War NSW Coordinator, Cr Lynne Saville:
“Climate change is the greatest health emergency humanity has faced, caused directly and indirectly by fossil fuels, bringing ecosystem collapse, extreme heat and lost harvests.

“Many countries in the developed world are divesting reliance on fossil fuels by increasing use of clean renewable energy. Reliance on gas is a retrograde step, which further risks health and environmental degradation to water, soil and air.

“Australia must follow responsible global leadership towards zero emissions with clean renewable energy, or be left behind.”

The Climate and Health Alliance is Australia’s peak body on climate change and health.

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