Coal Based Electricity Generation Costing Australians Big


Rising electricity prices aren’t the only financial sting associated with Australia’s current power generation status quo. Coal is costing us $2.6 billion annually in terms of health states a new report.
A briefing paper prepared by the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) and The Climate Institute says coal-fired power in Australia burdens the community with a human health cost from lung, heart, and nervous system diseases.
The report states available evidence suggests health benefits from slashing emissions could help offset the cost of emission reductions.  
“One recent global study, for instance, found that for every tonne of carbon dioxide they avoid countries could save an average of $46 in health costs – around twice Australia’s starting price for carbon,” says report author and CAHA Convenor Fiona Armstrong.
Apparently, more people are killed by air pollution every year than the road toll. The 2012 OECD Environmental Outlook report warned that without appropriate action, air pollution will become the biggest cause of environmentally-related deaths worldwide by 2050.
Brown coal in particular is weighing heavily upon us, with external costs of the filthy fossil fuel in the region of $60 per megawatt hour. 
Aside from the health risks directly associated with the emissions from coal fired power generation, rising temperatures are contributing to increasing levels of
ground-level ozone pollution, which affects the airways and lungs, causing inflammation and reduced function. 
The report draws from a growing body of evidence showing substantial health benefits linked to slashing emissions. For example, the reduction in air pollution as a result of a ban on burning coal in Ireland in the 1990s was associated with a dramatic improvement in respiratory health.
The report has been supported by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA). “Our Uncashed Dividend – The Health Benefits Of Climate Action” can be viewed in full here (PDF).