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New data shows WA LNG pollution rising out of control, preventing Australia meeting Paris targets

March 20, 2019
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New data released by the State and Commonwealth Governments points to a major spike in carbon pollution from liquified natural gas (LNG) production in Western Australia, making WA LNG the primary driver of national pollution increases and preventing Australia meeting targets under the Paris Agreement, according to the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA).

IMAGE: School strike for climate in Perth CREDIT: Simon Stevens

Information released by the National Clean Energy Regulator last week shows a 4.4 million tonne increase in pollution from large emitters in WA in FY18, compared with the previous reporting year. The rise is largely due to a 2.9 million tonne rise in emissions from Chevron's Wheatstone plant, and a 1.3 million tonne increase from its Gorgon facility, which has failed to meet its obligations to capture and bury carbon pollution underground.

Even more up to date information in the WA Government’s LNG industry profile shows that LNG production in WA has continued to expand since the end of the FY18 pollution reporting period, pointing to another spike in LNG pollution that is yet to be publicly reported.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said the latest data showed that pollution from LNG processing in WA was preventing Australia meet its Paris commitments, Commonwealth policy to control pollution growth was failing, and the LNG industry’s pollution problems were set to get worse.

“This new data shows clearly that the Morrison Government’s climate policies, including the Safeguard Mechanism, are ‘the emperor has no clothes’.

“Despite industry claims, the Safeguard Mechanism is having no measurable impact on controlling the rapidly rising pollution from the LNG sector, which is the main factor pushing up our national emissions and preventing Australia from reaching its Paris Agreement targets.

“How long will companies like Chevron and Woodside be allowed to get away with driving Australia’s pollution through the roof, with no effective controls on their emissions?

“It doesn’t matter how much taxpayers’ money the Morrison Government says it will spend on pollution reduction - if growing pollution from the LNG industry cancels out those gains, we will not achieve the climate change targets Australia is committed to under the Paris Agreement.

“The pollution from just one of WA’s four huge LNG projects will cancel out the entire pollution savings that will be achieved by the Morrison Government’s taxpayer funded Emissions Reduction Fund.

Independent analysis shows that the lack of effective action to control this pollution is costing Western Australians around 4,000 jobs in regional areas, in industries such as tree planting, landcare, and renewable energy.

“The WA EPA has put forward an eminently sensible approach to managing pollution from the LNG industry, providing the industry a ‘get out of jail’ card in the form of offsetting their carbon pollution. Even this modest approach has been rejected by the industry, which has not put forward any alternative proposal to get gas pollution under control in WA.

“Clearly the LNG sector has no plan to control its pollution, but the industry cannot hide from the numbers in these government reports.

“These giant LNG companies pay no tax and no royalties. Chevron is making $32 million per day in profits from its WA operations, and controlling their rising pollution would cost just 2% of these profits.

“It’s time to get the LNG industry and its runaway pollution under control, and to unlock the potential for thousands of new jobs and economic opportunities in clean industries that this would deliver.”

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