Re: effects on greenhouse gas emissions, Ramsar


Some of the "facts" in your reply, Lachlan, are not accurate. Australia needs to decarbonise urgently and rapidly and gas is not the way.  It's "less worse" than coal, but certainly not a "clean" alternative. I would like to make two points:

1. Re your statement that: "Replacing coal with gas helps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. As an example, mix of renewable and gas technologies can replace AGL’s Liddell coal plant when it closes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum." It's true that gas emissions for generating electricity are about 50-60% of coal, however they are still carbon emissions. Gas generation of electricity will divert investment in, and the implementation of, renewable energy technology and storage.  The adoption of gas-generated electricity will critically delay Australia's shift to net carbon zero emissions. We don't need it.

2. More seriously, your statement omits discussion of the extraction processes. Increased gas extraction is pushing emissions up, not down, due to its increase of fugitive and stationary energy emissions. Fugitive emissions are mostly methane which is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, with a co2-equivalent of around 34 times. On page 3 of the (Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy) Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2018 (the one released on Grand Final eve) it states: "National emissions levels for the June quarter 2018 increased 1.3 per cent relative to the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis. Emissions for the year to June 2018 increased 0.6 per cent or 3.4 Mt CO2-e. This increase was mainly driven by LNG production for export, with volumes increasing 18.4 per cent."  

Further, on page 6 it states: "Increases in stationary energy emissions reflect strong growth in production over the year in mining and manufacturing including, in particular, increases in LNG exports (up 18.4 per cent), steel production (up 6.8 per cent) and aluminium production (up 3.0 per cent). Growth in LNG also strongly impacted fugitive emissions due to flaring and the venting of methane and carbon dioxide and the steel production increase also impacted industrial process emissions."

This report demonstrates very clearly that gas extraction and production increases emission levels in a time when we desperately need to be reducing them.