An open letter from 60+ climate scientists published in the NT News this morning has called on the Chief Minister Michael Gunner to fulfil the recommendation of the Fracking Inquiry to ensure that there is no net increase in greenhouse gas emitted in Australia from fracking in the NT. Failing this, the climate scientists warn, fracking must be abandoned.
The planned production of gas in the Beetaloo could increase Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20%. This would have catastrophic effects on the climate and would certainly undermine the possibility of Australia achieving its already-too-weak Paris Agreement targets.
Both the NT and Commonwealth governments massively subsidise the gas industry, all the while these big corporations pay little to no tax. Recently, the Commonwealth announced $50 million of taxpayer’s money to pay 25% of the exploration costs for fracking companies in the Beetaloo Basin, and a further $174 million to upgrade roads for their fracking trucks.
Despite the subsidies, the gas industry employs few Territorians. The recent $225.8 million in proposed subsidies could fund the salaries of around 800 nurses in the NT for the next three years—more jobs than the entire gas industry contributes to the NT, according to the last census.
The Gunner Government is gearing up for a backflip over its promise to require gas companies to offset emissions. Released early September, Gunner’s ‘Large Emitters Policy’ contains no concrete mechanisms that would require fracking companies to offset the vast emissions from their projects.
This is unacceptable environmentally, and completely out of step with community expectations. Yesterday the NT government reiterated their commitment to zero net emissions by 2050, but this would be completely undermined by fracking plans.
Here you can read ABC News’ coverage of the open letter. Make sure to spread the word on social media too.
Shar, Kirsty, and the team at ECNT