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Global report calls for moratorium on LNG development. WA LNG expansion a climate disaster and major investment risk

A new report from Global Energy Monitor shows that Western Australia’s rapidly expanding liquified natural gas (LNG) export industry is a leading contributor to climate change, and expanding LNG capacity globally is on a collision course with the Paris Agreement.

IMAGE: Chevron's Wheatstone LNG project in the Pilbara

Based on a comprehensive global scan of LNG infrastructure, the report finds the global warming threat of LNG is “as large, or greater than the expansion of coal-fired power”, and that capital outlays of $US38 billion in the industry in Australia alone are at risk of becoming stranded assets.

Lead author of the report, Ted Nace, said LNG developments globally were on a collision course with the Paris Agreement and the declining cost of renewable energy. “The one piece of good news is that most of these projects are in the pre-construction stage so there is still time for a moratorium on LNG infrastructure before we lock ourselves into even more irreversible climate damage,” he said. 

Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) Director Piers Verstegen said the report was a “very loud wake up call for our community, government, and investors that WA’s expanding gas industry is not the climate solution that some have been pretending.

“WA is the epicentre of LNG expansion in Australia, and this makes WA globally significant in efforts to avoid further and more dangerous climate change. 

“In the same way that Australians have an international responsibility to stop new coal developments like Adani, this report shows very clearly that we must do everything we can to get WA’s rapidly rising carbon pollution from LNG under control, and prevent further growth in the industry.

“For any Western Australian who cares about preventing further dangerous climate change, our collective task and responsibility is very clear. Tacking this massive and growing pollution source must be our number one priority.

“The good news is that controlling pollution from existing LNG projects can create thousands of jobs for Western Australians in clean industries such as renewable energy, tree planting, and carbon farming. But LNG companies continue to block action in order to protect their profits. 

“WA LNG companies like Woodside and Chevron are not only the biggest polluters in WA, but they are also the biggest blockers of action on climate change. 

“As a community, our task is clear - we must overcome the ongoing blocking efforts of WA’s biggest polluters, and we must not be distracted by misleading claims about gas being part of the solution.

“It is no coincidence that while LNG pollution is rapidly rising and further expansions are planned, WA remains the only state with no climate change policy, no pollution reduction targets, no renewable energy strategy, and no official acknowledgement of the need to comply with the Paris Agreement. It is our responsibility to regain control of our democracy from the influence of the big polluters in the LNG industry, and correct this international embarrassment.

“Investors must also take note of this report  – the LNG industry is a climate disaster and LNG investments are in direct competition with renewable energy. Within a very short timeframe, the falling price of solar and wind energy will put LNG investments at direct risk of becoming stranded assets.”

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