As Madeleine King reveals new oil and gas exploration sites, Australia risks breaking climate brake and accelerator


“It’s the bubbles in your sparkling water or out of your SodaStream,” she explained. “So, you know, we have to keep a balance, how we think about carbon dioxide.”

These points, aside from King’s observation about carbonated water, are at best disputed outside of the oil and gas industry.

Rather than explore new gas, Australia could ensure its energy security by selling less of its existing supply overseas.

Most specialists do see a future for gas in decarbonized economies, but as an advanced technology to be activated quickly during short periods of high demand. The world cannot hope to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and continue to develop the gas industry.

In 2021, the International Energy Agency said keeping warming to 1.5 degrees required that no new oil and gas infrastructure be built beyond what was committed to. Last year.

Carbon capture and storage has never worked commercially on a large scale, despite billions of dollars of public money pouring into it for decades.

Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood remarked on Friday that a decade ago he was one of many to believe that carbon capture and storage facilities would now be operated at older power plants. charcoal to make them carbon neutral. This has never happened and no one is even raising the suggestion anymore, as the cost of carbon capture has continued to rise while the cost of renewable energy alternatives has continued to fall.

Even the argument that Australian gas displaces foreign coal, thereby reducing global emissions, was challenged by CSIRO in a study commissioned (and later verified) by Australia’s largest energy exporter, Woodside. In most of the cases studied, CSIRO researchers found that more gas would have a “negative impact” by delaying adoption of renewables, extending coal-fired power, or increasing gas emissions.

Hearing a key figure in this Labor government raise the controversies constantly fought under the former coalition government came as a shock to many observers. One said to Herald and age that King’s press releases could have been written by his predecessor, Keith Pitt.


Greens leader Adam Bandt was unimpressed, as was independent Zoe Daniel.

“The road to a 43% cut, let alone the deeper cuts that are really needed, will be tough enough as it is,” she said. “We need substance as well as symbolism. I request information from the government on the justification for this puzzling announcement. »

When questioned about the issue by a reporter at a press conference, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese asked the reporter if he had driven to work.

That’s a fair point. Australia cannot give up its immediate need for fossil fuels, nor its reliance on trade. Moreover, the release of new sites for exploration is a mundane annual task carried out by the Ministry of Industry.

But the fact that one minister addresses an audience to celebrate the long-term expansion of the fossil fuel sector while another engages another in the difficult task of rapidly reducing emissions opens the government up to accusations of greenwashing.

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