Climate and environment groups have criticized comments made by the new Resources Secretary, Madeleine King, in support of new gas development, saying they do not agree with what climate science says is needed to curb global warming.
In an interview with Sydney Morning HeraldKing said new gas fields such as the Narrabri development in Santos in northern New South Wales would help avert a future electricity crisis.
“It avoids a crisis, and that’s what it does, because it means more gas closer to your systems,” King said of the Narrabri project.
The Santos project has been approved by the NSW Independent Planning Commission and the Federal Government in 2020. Gas will not be produced until 2025.
It has faced strong opposition from local and environmental groups and traditional owners who have raised concerns about its impacts on the climate, water and Belega Forest.
Tim Buckley, Climate Director energy The finance department said the energy crisis on the east coast will not be resolved by more fossil fuel development projects.
The International Energy Agency and the United Nations said fossil fuel projects are new Do not comply with the limitation of warming to 1.5 ° C.
“Any discussion of gas as a transition fuel ignores climate science, ignores methane venting and fugitive emissions, ignores analysis of the entire supply chain and the fact that methane emissions are beyond company data,” Buckley said.
“Methane now accounts for a quarter of global carbon dioxide equivalent emissions and we have a climate emergency.”
Buckley said new gas development projects would take years to come online and would not address the price hikes.
“Domestic gas production in the East Coast has tripled in the past decade, so it is unreasonable to say that more production will somehow bring down record high gas prices,” he said. “Excessive exports from the east coast of Australia are the problem.”
Andrew Stock is a retired energy executive and retired foundation director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
He is now a board member of the Climate Council and said the work of both the International Energy Agency and the United Nations has made it clear that “there is no room in the planet’s climate balance for new gas developments”.
The states with the lowest energy prices on the national market are those that have diversified aggressively into renewables and storage, such as South Australia, Stock said.
“What the government should do is work hard to put in place a transition plan for renewables and storage, and away from fossil fuels, because that makes Australia independent of what’s happening in the rest of the world,” he said.
Their national energy ministers agreed To develop a transition plan to decarbonize the economy, accelerate the Energy Security Council’s work on building additional electricity supply capacity, and investigate gas procurement and storage by regulators to reduce the risk of shortages.
King told the Sydney Morning Herald that she wanted to decarbonize the economy but had to “accept some facts about our current energy mix”.
Chris Gambian, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales, said King’s support for the Narrabri development would do nothing to solve the immediate energy shortage and “ignore the obvious need for local gas sequestration”.
“It also ignores the significant environmental damage that the Narrabri community has been worried about for many years.”
Gumeroy’s traditional owners voted overwhelmingly against entering into an agreement with Santos for the Narabri gas project. It is a matter of procedure In the National Property Court.
Gumeroy’s traditional owner, Kara Kinchela, said there has been resistance to the Santos project for more than a decade, and “that won’t change just because King wants it”.
“What impresses me most is that if we started the transition to renewable energy ten years ago, Pelega would not be in danger now,” she said.
King told Guardian Australia in a statement: “The government is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and gas will continue to be an important source of energy during the energy transition. Gas Capable of ensuring the reliability and security of the power supply as coal generation ends. “
The minister said gas developments have “the potential to provide the increasing demand for gas generation during the energy transition” as well as increase investment in renewables and energy storage.
“If development projects like Narrabri are environmentally and commercially stackable, and they get the necessary approvals, they have to move on,” King said. “This includes environmental approvals and original ownership processes.”