October 25, 2014

Politicians Question the Role of Gas in Australia’s Energy Future

Politicians have raised fresh questions about the role of coal seam gas in Australia’s energy future.

Greens Senators Bob Brown and Christine Milne, along with MP Adam Bandt have all expressed concern about the emissions intensity of coal seam gas in the first week of the autumn session of parliament.

On Wednesday (August 18th) Senator Brown warned that the veracity of the claims made by proponents of coal seam gas is in doubt: “The presumption that the damage done by gas is half that done by coal is under very serious questioning.”

The leader of the Greens also highlighted that the aim of the clean energy package is ultimately to replace the burning of fossil fuels with renewable energy. His comments echoed those made on Tuesday by his deputy, Senator Christine Milne.

“Once you start looking at the greenhouse gas emissions and intensity of all that, you will find that all these people who claim that coal seam gas is cleaner than coal are in fact wildly exaggerating any benefits,” she said, adding that the nation needed to “move straight to renewables.”

In addition to these criticisms, Greens MP Adam Bandt flagged on Thursday his concern that in as little as two decades, the infrastructure built for coal seam gas could become a massive stranded asset.

Though Mr Bandt stated that his party’s concerns about the fuel source did not threaten its support for the government’s carbon price package, he maintained that there was a real question about where money should be invested for the future of energy in Australia.

“We are in the midst of an energy revolution; we want to get to 100 percent renewable energy as fast we can,” he said.

Similar views have long been espoused by BZE. While Prime Minister Gillard’s carbon policy is a step in the right direction, we still hold major reservations regarding the scheme’s actual implementation. Our primary concern is the need to avoid a shift to gas power.

Establishing fossil gas as a large supplier of electricity foolishly repeats history by building another set of barricades to developing truly renewable, clean power. There is no reasonable motive to invest in gas power when better alternatives are available, such as the award-winning Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, which provides a fully assessable roadmap to get Australia running on 100 percent renewable energy in ten years.

For more information on the climate change impacts of coal seam gas listen to BZE Executive Director Matthew Wright’s ABC Radio interview with Fran Kelly and check out The Conservation’s  Q&A with Zero Carbon Australia research fellow Patrick Hearps.

- BZE Media Team

This article was first published on Beyond Zero Emissions

Beyond Zero Emissions Inc. is a not-for-profit, volunteer run organisation. Our core goal is to develop blueprints for the implementation of climate change solutions that will rapidly reduce emissions and give our society and global ecosystems a chance of surviving into the future. We also run broad-based education campaigns based on this research.

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