Gordon Fraser Quick, CSG Lismore
In an explosive revelation scientists have proven massive methane emissions to the atmosphere from gas fields in Queensland.
‘Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas and emissions from most industries require carbon pollution payments to be made,’ said scientists Dr Isaac Santos and Dr Damien Maher who work at Southern Cross University and have conducted monitoring across northeast NSW and southeast Queensland and found atmospheric methane concentrations rise very dramatically in gas fields.
These scientific facts cannot be disputed. Gas fields are not the clean green energy source some claim. They are dirty polluting industrial landscapes that are emitting huge volumes of methane. Further development of the CSG industry is against all logic.
Landfills across Australia are forced to pay for methane emissions. They reduce this liability by capturing and flaring their emissions. This will be a near-impossible task when an entire gas field of thousands of wells over thousands of hectares is bleeding emissions into the atmosphere as shown in this groundbreaking research.
Methane, which stays in the atmosphere for many years, is more than 20 times more problematic as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Put simply, one tonne of methane equals at least 20-plus tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas equivalence.
The gas industry will say these emissions are not proven, are very small in volume and that they may come from natural sources, but each of these industry claims will be shown to be untrue.
The work conducted by the SCU scientists gathered more than 40,000 data units, traversed many other known sources of methane including around landfill sites, sewage-treatment plants, natural wetlands and cattle-raising farms and showed massive methane emissions in the gas fields but not anywhere else.
While methane concentrations may appear small it is noted they are being emitted 24 hours a day seven days a week and bleeding off to disperse into the atmosphere. If the gas field had a roof over it then it could be expected the concentration would rapidly rise.
With the Carbon Tax based on carbon and the base unit being CO2 equivalence the unconventional gas industry including coal-seam gas, tight sands gas and shale gas production may now face a multi-billion-dollar liability for the inevitable uncontrollable methane emissions in a gas field.
The precautionary principle that should be applied to all sensible industrial development has been thrown to the methane-laden wind by the gas industry. We call for an immediate halt to the CSG and other unconventional gas industry. Renewable energy provides a much more stable, cheaper and less damaging future energy source for the world than a dirty unreliable fossil fuel that will have negative impacts for generations to come.