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Air Pollution and Climate Change in Australia: A Triple Burden

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This chapter mainly focuses on air pollution, with less stress on the health problems of climate change, which, conceptually, is also a form of air pollution, due to the changing composition of atmospheric trace gases. Air quality in Australia is comparatively good, by global standards, due to its large area, low population, and widespread development. However, there are areas of Australia which have significant health problems from dirty air, particularly in association with coal-burning power stations, from the combustion of wood for heating during winter and from vehicles in the large cities. Australia is also a major exporter of greenhouse gases, both as fossil fuels (coal and gas), and of beef and sheep. Much can be done to reduce this triple burden of impaired air quality, domestic climate change and exported climate change, but this requires major changes to consciousness in Australia, and greater willingness to oppose vested interests which profit from ageing paradigms of progress which discount health and environmental costs. The falling cost of renewable energy, especially, gives hope that such challenges will be increasingly successful, but additional solutions are needed to reduce the burning of wood for heat.




Butler, C. D., & Whelan, J. (2018). Air Pollution and Climate Change in Australia: A Triple Burden. In Springer Climate (pp. 131–149). Springer.

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