The newly promised green leadership at AGL may consider it has done enough to address climate change, but health workers are keeping the company to account.
At today’s Energy Transition Conference, health workers are stressing that pressure on the energy giant won’t let up until its climate plan meets global scientific recommendations.
Health workers are responding to disappointing public comments from AGL chair Patricia Mckenzie, and AGL board member Kerry Schott that say the company do not see a credible pathway to meet transition targets that are 1.5 degree aligned, and that the fossil fuel gas is needed as the link between phasing out coal and moving to renewables.
AGL’s Climate Transition Action Plan (CTAP) offers a decarbonising strategy that meets only a 1.8-degree warming target and retires coal power stations after 2035. This isn’t good enough, according to Healthy Futures, a network of health professionals passionate about climate change.
“It is clear from this week’s IPCC synthesis report that a 1.8 degree target is reckless,” said Melbourne -based GP Harry Jennes. “Anything above the 1.5 degree Paris Agreement risks thousands more Australian deaths due to escalating extreme heat, bushfires, floods and allergic and infectious diseases” .
The World Health Organization advises that countries like Australia should end coal use by 2030 . Health workers today are urging AGL executives, notably conference speaker
Bruce Hardy, General Manager of Emerging Business AGL, to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
“As an energy retailer with nearly 4 million customers in Australia, and as the owner of dirty coal and gas-fired power stations, AGL has the capacity to make a huge difference for our energy future, our environment and for health,” said Dr Jennes.
“We are calling on the so-called green leadership of AGL to stop underestimating climate change risk and instead invest in a plan that replaces polluting fossil fuels with renewable energy by 2030”.
In a response to the IPCC’s call to action, health workers are handing out flyers to conference attendees which illustrate the inadequacies with AGL’s current CTAP and provide suggestions as to how it could be improved.
“Due to its size and position in the market, AGL should be seizing the opportunity to lead this electrification revolution that is taking storm,” Energy Transitions Campaigner Bronwyn McDonald said.
“AGL is talking at today’s energy transition conference about electrification initiatives. But given the recent disappointing comments from AGL’s Chair McKenzie, and Board Member Schott, health workers want to see more than piecemeal initiatives from Australia’s largest emissions polluter. Our recommendation for the company will benefit the community’s health and our climate, AGL should quit coal by 2030.”
“SYNTHESIS REPORT 2 OF THE IPCC SIXTH ASSESSMENT REPORT (AR6”) https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/
Parise, I. (2018). A brief review of global climate change and the public health consequences. Retrieved from:https://www1.racgp.org.au/ajgp/2018/july/climate-change-and-the-public-health on
‘The Health Argument for Climate Action’ © World Health Organization (2021). Retrieved from: https://apps.who.int/iris/rest/bitstreams/1378263/retrieve
Healthy Futures is a network of healthcare workers and community supporters working together to take action on climate change. https://www.healthyfutures.net.au/