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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Morrison and Berejiklian back more gas as fires burn

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An area of the Pilliga Forest where a CSG wastewater spill occurred in 2011. Nothing has grown back. Photo David Saunders.

The announcement of a two billion dollar deal between Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian’s NSW government that will lead to a significant boost to gas supply has led to quick condemnation. While prime minister Morisson has stated that the money could be spent on ‘clean technology’ this included both coal innovation and gas extraction that many argue are not clean or sustainable  technologies.

Fossil fuels are the problem. Burning coal, oil, and gas is driving climate change, which is making Australia’s extremes, more extreme,’ pointed out the Climate Council’s CEO, Amanda McKenzie in response to the deal. 

‘Every dollar toward fossil fuel projects is a dollar toward making heatwaves worse and fires more damaging. It is just crazy, given everything we have lost this summer to even suggest opening new fossil fuel reserves.

‘More gas isn’t a climate policy it is a pollution policy. While fires are still threatening lives and properties – why is the government investing in making the problem worse,’ she said. 

Increasing costs

Rather than reducing energy costs as put forward by Morrison and Berejiklian Beyond Zero Emissions claim that the approach put forward will push ‘NSW closer to economic irrelevance with new investments in polluting and expensive gas.’

Vanessa Petrie, CEO, Beyond Zero Emissions, said, ‘Gas only leads to higher energy prices, more greenhouse gas pollution, and worsening climate impacts such as the unprecedented bushfires that NSW has seen this summer.

‘NSW industry is already struggling to stay competitive due to the high and fluctuating prices of coal and gas-fired energy. Global buyers and investors are increasingly demanding zero-carbon solutions that are aligned with climate goals… The future of heavy manufacturing in NSW and workers depends on staying economically competitive and attractive to investors. But gas is one of the most expensive energy sources around, and global investors are pulling their money out of carbon-intensive companies,’ said Petrie.  

According to The Guardian 12 projects shortlisted by the $1bn electricity underwriting scheme five are gas projects, two of which have been approved.

It was further reported that the ‘Berejiklian told reporters the Narrabri gas project – to drill 900 coal seam gas wells, including within the Pilliga state forest – “may very well be” the source of extra gas and “will meet” the requirement, although she noted the project is still subject to final approval.’

Increasing fire risk and global heating

This is a dangerous plan which will make the Climate Crisis worse,’ said Greens MP and Energy Spokesperson David Shoebridge. 

‘We are in the middle of a terrible summer of fires, drought and smoke and this is when the coalition, state and federal, commits to more coal and gas projects. This is a reckless and illegitimate plan that will make the climate crisis worse.

‘It’s 2020. We don’t need to be extracting more gas to “transition” to renewable energy, we need to be building solar, wind and renewable storage now.

‘This is pretending to take action on climate change while committing to more coal, more gas, and worsening the climate crisis. We need a transition to 100 per cent publicly owned renewable energy now and with it create thousands of highly skilled and well paid green jobs,’ Mr Shoebridge said.

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  1. Morrison ‘n Glad taking ‘crook action’ so they
    can become nice guys is lunacy. I’ve got the
    answer; they can have their technology pure
    & clean, just go & print a trillion or so $100
    bills. I’m sure the mint won’t mind support
    -ing renewable energy & employing locals
    [read miners] all at once & fixing the state
    of the nation.


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