Famed Nasa climate scientist James Hansen has joined 21 other academics to urge the New South Wales government to ban new coal mines in the Hunter Valley, saying mining is putting residents’ health at risk.
In a pre-election salvo, a letter to NSW premier Mike Baird raises concerns about health impacts from air pollution, degradation of underground water and soil and the resulting “dangerous changes” to Australia’s climate due to the release of greenhouse gases.
The letter states: “The health of the community and the social and environmental values of the Hunter Valley are being damaged by the increasing coal production in the region.
“People’s health is at risk from declining air quality associated with coal mining, transportation and combustion. The illnesses and deaths associated with air pollution from coal in the region are potentially costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year.