More than 60 leading scientists and experts published an open letter in the NT News, coordinated by the Australia Institute, calling on Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner to follow through on his pledge that all broadcasts are fully compensated or that gas fracking should not take place.
Chief Minister Gunner pledged to faithfully implement all recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory (the Hydraulic Fracturing Inquiry), including the critically important recommendation 9.8: that there should be no net increase in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions from hydraulic fracturing in the NT.
- The policies issued by the NT government to date, the Large Emitters Policy and the Draft Offsetting Policy, do not require emissions from gas combustion in Australia, known as Scope 3 emissions, to be offset. although they are an important part of gas life cycle emissions. extraction process. The policies also lack any enforceable requirements to offset the remaining emissions, known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
- The fracking investigation found that the development of shale gas in the Northern Territory could result in around 100 million tonnes of emissions per year, including 40 million tonnes of Australian emissions, which would increase emissions from the Australia by 8 percent at current levels.
In part, the letter reads as follows:
“The investigation report clearly states: ‘The increase in life cycle GHG emissions in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced in the Northern Territory must be fully offset.”
âLifecycle emissions include all emissions from the production, processing and final combustion of gas in Australia, which are known as scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
“Chief Minister Gunner, in order for you to honor your pledge, NT’s offset policy must require that all life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Australia from any terrestrial gas produced in the NT, including scope 3 emissions are fully and truly offset.
âIf this cannot be achieved, a critical recommendation has failed and fracking should not continue. “
âGiven the severity of global warming, the development of shale gas in the Northern Territory is unlikely to continue at all. But if this is the case, it is essential that the Chief Minister live up to his commitment to ensure that there is no net increase in Australian emissions from hydraulic fracturing in the NT, âsaid Mark Ogge, Senior Climate and Energy Advisor at the Australia Institute.
âEnforceable requirements to fully and genuinely offset all life cycle emissions, including emissions from gas combustion, with official Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) would be needed.
âIf enforceable emission offsets cannot be obtained, for all emissions from the gas extraction process, a critical recommendation from the NT fracking investigation has failed and fracking is not expected to continue. “
Other quotes attributable to the signatories:
Professor Lesley Hughes, climate adviser and former IPCC lead author, said:
âThe latest IPCC report tells us that we need to cut emissions drastically if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Allowing the development of gas in the NT adds fuel to the fire and will lead to more frequent and extreme heat waves, fires and floods, and many other dire consequences for Australia, including the NT . Compensation is not a real solution. We shouldn’t allow hydraulic fracturing to go ahead in the first place. “
Professor Ian Lowe AO FTSE, Professor Emeritus, Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University said:
âWith climate change intensifying and the world moving away from fossil fuels, it would be a serious mistake to open up massive new sources of greenhouse gases like the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory. Offsets are a very poor substitute for keeping fossil fuels in the ground, but it would be appalling if the government even tried to avoid requiring the companies involved to offset their emissions.
âScope 3, or combustion emissions, are absolutely life cycle emissions and trying to ignore them is just plain dishonest. “
Greg Mullins, Founder, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action; Former NSW Fire & Rescue Commissioner; The former chairman of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council said:
âAllowing huge new fossil fuel projects like this is irresponsible and only fuels the fire of climate change. The result is a huge backlash. Ever more devastating fires can be expected in the Northern Territory, Australia and around the world. As fires worsen and fire seasons lengthen, resources will be increasingly strained. We will all suffer the consequences. “
Professor Matthew England, Center for Climate Change Research, University of New South Wales, said:
âThe latest IPCC report underlines the urgency of rapidly reducing our carbon emissions. Opening up a massive gas basin that could lead to a huge increase in emissions is simply irresponsible. Australia and the Northern Territory are particularly vulnerable to climate change, it is imperative that we keep fossil fuels in the ground to ensure a decent climate future. “
Will Steffen, climate scientist at Australian National University, said:
âMost of the fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground if we are to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. There is absolutely no longer a carbon budget for the emissions that would result from the development of new oil and gas fields like the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory. Every action we take now and enable shale gas development in the Northern Territory is a big step in the wrong direction. “
Professor Hilary Bambrick, environmental epidemiologist at Queensland University of Technology, said:
“Climate change is having a devastating impact on people’s health, such as respiratory illnesses from smoke inhalation from fires, severe health effects from increased heat waves or injuries from severe storms and floods, “says
âIt is not only the climate change caused by gas that is a public health problem, there are also direct health consequences from the extraction and combustion of gas. Whether it’s contaminated water and air pollution for communities near mines, or deadly air from burning gas in our homes, gas is bad for our health. .
âExpanding gas extraction is both dangerous and unnecessary. Choosing to increase greenhouse gas emissions from shale gas fields in the Northern Territory is deeply irresponsible â
Professor John Quiggin, VC Principal Investigator, School of Economics, University of Queensland, said:
âThe time for gas as a transitional fuel is already over. The demand for gas compatible with a sustainable path towards net zero emissions can be met from existing resources. As the International Energy Agency has observed, there is no role to play in the development of new coal, oil or gas resources, such as those in the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory. The need for hydraulic fracturing implies that any reduction in carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the use of gas rather than oil or coal as fuel will be largely or fully offset by methane leakage.