By Celine Lai
The Climate Council’s new report, “Passing Gas: Why Renewables are the Future”, has revealed the extent to which gas is driving global warming.
The only way to keep us safe is to transition to renewables as quickly as possible
The 54 page report shows 5 key findings:
- Emissions from gas are under-reported.
- The second biggest user of gas in Australia is the gas industry itself.
- The international gas market is in crisis and Australia is dangerously exposed to job losses and price volatility.
- Extracting and burning more gas escalates risk and puts more Australians in harm’s way.
- We do not need new gas when renewables are cheaper and cleaner.
Gas is mostly made of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
It will be more expensive for Australia to transition from coal to gas, than to renewables.
Wind and solar powered generation, even after being backed by storage, is the cheapest form of new electricity generating infrastructure.
The Australian Energy Market Operator sees a steadily shrinking role for gas over the next 20 years.
In most scenarios, more than two thirds of gas power stations will retire, without being replaced with new ones. Nearly 80% of our gas is exported, requiring immense amounts of energy. In 2018/2019 only 3% was used for residential purposes.
Incentivising gas-powered generation means disincentivizing cheaper and smarter options.
As the sunniest and windiest inhabited continent on the planet, and with careful planning of infrastructure, Australia can transition to 100% renewable electricity supply formed by a mix of storage, and demand side solutions.
Growing gas emissions from the gas sector are cancelling out the progress made from reducing greenhouse gases from increasing energy production through solar and wind.
[Snapshot from page 11 of the report]
[Snapshot from page 10 of the report]
Page 35 of the report “Passing Gas: why renewables are the future” states:
Between 2005 and 2025, South Australia will have transformed its electricity system from having virtually no solar or wind generation to having more than 85%; resulting in cheaper and cleaner power for its residents. This makes South Australia a global leader, and shows the rest of the country what can be achieved with sustained leadership.
In contrast, at the moment Western Australia is “captured” by the gas industry, as 350 Perth’s report “Captured State: the influence of the gas lobby on W.A.” shows.
You are encouraged to join in the campaign to release W.A. from the grip of the powerful gas lobby, by reading and sharing our Report and joining in our campaign.
The Climate Council and 350 Perth and others have clearly shown that the vested interests of large offshore companies have taken priority in Australia, over our environment and over people’s well-being.
Some examples of these revelations can be read at the pages below.
While a full transition from coal and gas will take time, people around the globe are fast embracing environmentally-friendly energy production. The way we generate our electricity impacts upon the well-being of us and our families.
Page 41 of the report states:
Australia is one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas polluters, both at home and overseas. On an absolute basis, it is the world’s 14th highest emitter, meaning Australia adds more to the global climate burden than 181 other countries each year (Gütschow et al. 2019). Per person, Australia emits more than any other developed country in the world (Climate Council 2020a).
Today, gas is being positioned as the “new” saviour of the economy – based on overblown claims that gas is cleaner than coal and an overestimation of the industry’s workforce. The truth is gas emits more potent emissions at the point of source, and leaks and other emissions along the production process cannot be contained; and the gas industry provides few jobs. A just transition to other employment for those in the gas industry is achievable.
In the financial year 2018/2019, approximately 17.6 thousand people were employed in the oil and gas extraction industry in Australia. Since reaching a peak in 2014, employment in this industry dropped by almost 25 percent.
There are many organisations around who have developed sound plans for decarbonising Australia and moving from coal and gas to renewables.
Clean State shows that Western Australia can be 90% powered by renewables by 2030
Thank you for helping the movement forward by taking the time to look at all the Reports in this article and spreading their findings far and wide!
The Planet and the people need YOU — to take action NOW.
To be involved is to take charge of YOUR life and to be open to positive change.
The MORE people who get involved, the sooner our climate will be restored! You are needed!
Download the Climate Council’s report “Passing Gas: why renewables are the future” here.