By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Australia Institute’s submission to the NT fracking inquiry, which will take public evidence in Alice Springs on Thursday, has found that fully exploiting the Territory’s shale gas resources could result in emissions equivalent to 60 times Australia’s total current annual emissions, or to 130 new coal power plants operating for 40 years.
The institute’s principal advisor, Mark Ogge, says in a media release that the inquiry “failed to follow its own terms of reference to consider the cumulative impacts of fracking, instead basing its risk assessment on a single gas field in isolation.
“The inquiry also ignored the impact of shale oil development, despite it being regarded as a key driver for NT fracking by Geoscience Australia and being actively perused by oil and gas companies.
“Even that single gas field would increase Australia’s emissions by around 5% which would be a large and unacceptable increase of Australia’s emissions at odds with our already modest Paris commitments” says Mr Ogge.
“The Northern Territory will be amongst the hardest hit anywhere in the world by global warming.
“For example, in Darwin the number of days over 35 degrees Celsius is expected to increase from 11 per year currently to 308 by 2070 without global action to reduce emissions.
“Heatwaves have killed more Australians than all other extreme weather events combined. NT Fracking will contribute to more frequent and intense heatwaves and should not be allowed to go ahead under any circumstances.
“The inquiry has used a misleading ‘salami slicing’ approach comparing small elements of fracking to total global emissions, and ignoring large ones, to hide the full impacts from Territorians,” says Mr Ogge.
Meanwhile inquiry chair, Justice Rachel Pepper, says that hearings this week provide a final opportunity to hear formal presentations from interested people, groups and organisations before the inquiry finalises its work and publishes its final report in March.
Presentations will be live-streamed and uploaded to the submission library, Justice Pepper says.
By ERWIN CHLANDA