Greens NSW Upper House MP Sue Higginson has today given notice of a bill set to ban fossil fuel advertising in New South Wales.
The Public Health and Safety (Fossil Fuel Advertising) Bill 2022, aims to introduce a tobacco-style ban for fossil fuel companies, citing public health concerns as a key reason that fossil fuel companies should be prevented from being able to advertise.
The move follows an ongoing community campaign by Comms Declare, ‘Fossil Ad Ban’, that calls for an end to greenwashing ad campaigns and social licence purchase of fossil fuel companies through sponsorship of sports teams. Motions in support of the campaign have been tabled in local councils across the state, with the City of Sydney Council passing a motion in recent weeks.
Ms Higginson said, ‘Climate change is the biggest public health crisis we’re facing and this bill recognises the huge and destructive contribution fossil fuel companies make to this crisis.
‘It’s wrong that these companies that are causing so much damage and who are behind the terrible climate disasters we’re now continually facing are able to run public advertising campaigns showing wind turbines and solar panels or to have their names on the uniforms of our children’s sports teams,’ she said.
‘We need to remove that opportunity for these companies to influence our communities and I commend Comms Declare for their commitment to making this happen,’ said Ms Higginson.
Belinda Noble is the founder of Comms Declare. She said, ‘Fossil fuel marketing only exists to stimulate demand for toxic coal, petrol and methane gas, polluting our air, accelerating climate change and delaying the transition to clean energy.
‘Advertising self-regulation has failed to protect the public, and a ban on fossil fuel advertising is the only way we can effectively and quickly stamp out greenwashing and misinformation.
‘I thank Sue Higginson for making this move to protect public health and I hope other states and the federal government will soon follow,’ said Ms Noble.
Tobacco ban campaigner, author and Emeritus Professor from Sydney School of Public Health Simon Chapman said, ‘How can we continue to allow the rampant marketing of fossil fuel emitting energy sources to continue when we know what the impact will be and what is at stake?
‘Tobacco advertising is banned in most nations because smoking kills 2 in every 3 of its long term users: 8 million people a year worldwide. But this number is chicken-feed when we consider the existential threat to generations to come of unabated climate change this century caused by frequent extreme weather events, crop failure, conflict caused by population displacement and more,’ said Professor Chapman.
The fossil fuel threat
Another supporter of the bill is child/adolescent psychiatrist and paediatrician Dr Cybele Dey. She said, ‘Mining coal, oil and gas threatens the health and wellbeing of all Australians and everyone on this planet and I hope all NSW MPs and Senators act to protect health by ending fossil fuel advertising.
‘Health professionals support stopping fossil fuel advertising because they witness the human toll from burning fossil fuels via air pollution and climate change.
‘As a child and adolescent psychiatrist and paediatrician, I’m especially concerned about our children and young people, over 50% of whom feel betrayed by governments over climate change. We are already seeing more children coming to hospital with self-harm during extreme heat and depression following climate-fuelled disasters,’ she said.
‘Leadership by NSW MPs and senators to stop fossil fuel advertising would provide realistic hope for young people and protect health into the future,’ said Dr Dey.