'China visit focus should be on renewables, not fossil fuels'


p2329-ALEC-solar-towerLETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) is very disappointed that the NT Government’s focus in China this week has been on building support for oil and gas projects, instead of building relationships and support for renewable energy industries.
Mr Gunner said that Darwin is emerging as a key international oil and gas hub with multi-billion dollar projects in full swing. In meetings this week Mr Gunner has met with Chinese shareholders in the Jemena Northern Gas Pipeline project.
In December 2015 Australia signed the Paris Climate Agreement, which seeks to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C – the upper limit being 2C. This global target requires 80% of all known fossil fuel deposits to remain unburned and in the ground.
Despite pre-election commitments to a 50% renewable energy target for the NT by 2030, it seems the Gunner Government is still engaging in a full steam ahead approach with the fossil fuel industry.
China became the world’s largest investor in renewable energy last year – it would have been great to see the NT Government building relationships with the Chinese renewable energy sector instead of oil and gas companies.
ALEC is staunchly opposed to the proposed Northern Gas Pipeline due to its enabling effects on the Northern Territory onshore gas industry.
The stated economic justification for this project is to “stimulate the development of the Northern Territory through increased gas exploration and production,” however the world is already facing an over supply of gas for the next decade: Why search for, dig up and most likely frack for more?
ALEC does not believe the NT Government will meet its renewable energy targets whilst at the same time developing the oil and gas industry, and is calling for the release of the Renewable Energy Roadmap to provide clarity to NT residents.
Jimmy Cocking
Director of the Arid Lands Environment Centre


  1. Couldn’t agree more. We have a slim chance of keeping the world under a 2C warming (which is catastrophic in terms of the overall climatic changes that would occur).
    We cannot afford to dig a single coal mine, or frack a single well to be sure of keeping below this target.
    Let’s make solar energy while the sun is shining.

  2. Very well articulated, Jimmy … as usual.
    We most certainly do need to focus on the present and future development of abundant renewable energy opportunities. For Alice Springs (the capital of Central Australia as described by the Chief Minister) to become the destined Solar Centre of Excellence in the NT, efforts must be strengthened to create that reality.
    I fully understand that to segue from a reliance on fossil fuel energy to those that are renewable is a delicate tightrope for Mr Gunner to walk. He is a smart young man however and should, in cohort with others, find ways to better achieve the switch sooner rather than later.


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