The health impacts of the coal industry

Greenpeace has spent the last year trying to talk to ANZ's senior management about the bank's heavy involvement in financing Australia's coal power industry. We held forums, meetings and phone link-ups with the bank's senior management. We distributed leaflets, hung banners and wrote numerous letters and emails.

Yet ANZ still refuses to budge.

The ANZ senior management sees polluting coal power from a short term economic point of view. They are refusing to take responsibility for the impacts of the projects that they finance. They argue if its legal - and they can make money from it - then they should be able to finance it. We believe there should be moral dimensions to their decisions.

ANZ made the same arguments when it was financing cluster bombs and the notorious Gunns Pulp Mill in Tassie. But in both those cases it finally agreed with its staff and the broader community and stopped funding both the bombs and the mill.

It's time ANZ made the same decision about new coal power stations in Australia – just don't finance them. It is possible to make money without destroying the earth and the health of communities across Australia. In fact, the renewable energy industry is booming abroad and it's time Australia gets onboard. Not only does it make economic sense to replace polluting coal with clean energy, ANZ must consider the broader impacts of its investment decisions. A recent study by Harvard has found coal costs the US economy between one-third to half a trillion. There can no doubt about the kind of devastating consequences coal has on the environment, and also on the health of kids and communities.

Dr David Shearman, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Adelaide University and secretary of Doctors for the Environment Australia, puts it pretty simply:

"Coal is a health hazard. Pollution from coal power stations are now at damaging levels and contribute to four of the five leading causes of mortality - heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic respiratory diseases."

"By saying no to new coal power stations, ANZ can play a vital role in safeguarding the health of Australians."

How you can help

Let ANZ know what you think of their dirty behaviour. Email ANZ CEO Mike Smith using our online email tool. It's easy to do and will only take two minutes.