The Conversation, May 27, 2020
Bill Hare: Director, Climate Analytics, Adjunct Professor, Murdoch University (Perth), Visiting scientist, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Ursula Fuentes: Murdoch University
Every few years, the idea that gas will help Australia transition to a zero-emissions economy seems to re-emerge, as if no one had thought of it before. Federal energy minister Angus Taylor is the latest politician to jump on the gas bandwagon.
Taylor wants taxpayer money invested in fast-start gas projects to drive the post-pandemic recovery. His government plans to extend the emissions reduction fund to fossil fuel projects using carbon capture and storage.
Amid all these gas plans, there is little talk of the damage this would wreak on the climate. We need only look to Woodside’s Burrup Hub proposal in Western Australia to find evidence of the staggering potential impact. By the end of its life in 2070, the project and the gas it produces will emit about six billion tonnes of greenhouse gas. That’s about 1.5% of the 420 billion tonnes of CO2 world can emit between 2018 and 2100 if it wants to stay below 1.5℃ of global warming.
This project alone exposes as a furphy the claim that natural gas is a viable transition fuel.