Opposition to the Morrison government’s gas-fired coronavirus economic recovery plan is gathering pace, with a new report saying emissions from the sector are underestimated.
The Climate Council report released on Thursday delves into the industry to make the case for renewables over gas.
It finds the industry itself is the second largest user of gas in the nation, with a chunk of it used to make liquefied natural gas to export.
Climate Council chief Amanda McKenzie says emissions from gas aren’t accurately reported.
“Upstream emissions of gas, as well as other leaks, are under-reported, using out-of-date measures,” she said.
Emissions from the gas sector continue to rise but the government argues it is helping other nations swap out coal for gas, reducing emissions overseas.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association agrees.
“With respect, there are substantially more credible sources of information than an industry group established to oppose the industry,” chief of the gas industry’s peak body Andrew McConville told AAP in defence of the sector.
“Natural gas actually helps to lower emissions by moving away from coal and supporting intermittent renewables.
“Industry reporting and monitoring of natural gas emissions is regular, transparent and independently monitored at both a national and global level.”
The Morrison government recently approved a controversial gas field in NSW’s Narrabri, paving the way for the $3.6 billion coal seam project to go ahead.
Narrabri local John Tough used to work in the gas industry but left after seeing the environmental impacts.
This included seeing a kangaroo die after drinking contaminated water and plants no longer surviving in areas where spills have occurred.
He’s worried the town will become an industrial wasteland.
“We don’t need to wreck the place, we can still make the energy out of the wind and out of the sunshine,” Mr Tough told AAP.
“People can’t see this for the future, they just see the mighty dollar now.”
He says the industry is dangerous for workers and chemical spills have long-lasting effects on the environment.
Chemicals seep into the sand, moving further each time it rains.
“It doesn’t die and it doesn’t break down.”
Meanwhile, Greenpeace is urging the government to adopt net zero emissions by 2040 to help the Pacific.
The environmental group has released a new report saying temperatures will increase 2.9C by 2100 under current policies.