Education Gas V Renewables Economic
July 26, 2020
"An informed and motivated Otways community taking bold and effective action for climate justice by protecting our coast and country from the threat of unsustainable development"
As part of OCEAN's commitment to use this lockdown time to inform ourselves and our Otway community about gas in the Otway Basin, please find part one contribution by member Matt Armstrong.
Gas vs Renewables
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 disruption, Australia needs an economic recovery. That’s where the agreement between parties ends. The Federal government, acting on the advice of the Covid Commission (a team mainly of executives from the mining industry) is pushing for a Gas led economic recovery. Other groups are calling for a Renewables led recovery. For example, Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the Australia Industry Group (representing more than 60,000 businesses), says Covid-19 and climate are ‘urgent’ challenges that overlap.‘Covid-19 and climate are bigger than any economic challenge we’ve faced in the last century. Let’s compare the pair.
Gas is a fossil fuel and a greenhouse gas that drives climate change.
More gas means more dangerous climate impacts, like bushfires, heatwaves and worsening drought. Gas, it turns out is not the transitional energy source it was thought to be ten years ago. In fact methane gas is 34 times stronger than C02 at trapping heat over a 100 year period and 86 times stronger over 20 years.
Investing in new gas is unlikely to pay off in the future, so it’s a waste of stimulus spending.
“The notion that any industry can survive selling its product lower than its cost of production is clearly out of step … I’d love to be able to sell $4 gas and make a margin that made it worthwhile to do that but we can’t because it doesn’t exist today.” Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher.
More investment in gas risks locking in huge investment losses and environmental harm, with gas projects failing to provide any benefit at all.
The new chair of the Australian Energy Regulator, Clare Savage, says that if the gas transmission networks do not convert to hydrogen, these assets may be stranded; that's many billions of dollars in the gas pipelines! "she is calling time on a multi-billion-dollar industry" says energy analyst Bruce Robertson.
Emissions from the extraction, processing and export of gas are the main driver behind Australia’s official emissions staying so high.
The official figures for emissions for gas are likely significantly underestimated due to leakages which are variable and largely unknown.
Renewable energy backed by storage is the lowest cost form of new electricity generation and keeps dropping in price each year.
Shifting Australia toward a zero emissions future provides long-term and ongoing employment opportunities that the gas industry cannot.
Around two-thirds of renewable energy jobs are created in regional areas.
Australia is the sunniest and one of the windiest countries on the entire planet, which offers us an incredible economic advantage in renewable energy.
Every state in Australia has a Zero Emissions Target for 2050 it makes no sense to still persist with gas as the 'interim' fuel.
Now is the time to re-energise our economy to build a safer, cleaner, stronger Australia with clean industries which power jobs and protect communities.
If you would like to contribute please return an email to OCEAN with your subject.
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