By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) says the NT Government’s climate change discussion paper downplays the urgency of the situation and the role of government in leading climate action.
CSIRO modelling estimates that without climate action the number of days above 35 degrees in Darwin could increase from 22.2 days to 275 days per year in 2070, says the NGO’s CEO Jimmy Cocking (pictured).
“NT emissions have risen 28% over the last 10 years and will exponentially rise if the Territory is opened up to gas fracking,” he says.
“Gas is not a transition fuel. A lot of developing economies are leap-frogging fossil fuels and moving straight to renewables. The Territory needs to get on board, not be left behind.”
The performance of the NT in matters of climate change is paltry, says Mr Cocking.
• The NT currently produces 3% of Australian emissions, with only 1% of the population. Australians are one of the highest polluting people per capita on the planet, and Territorians are the highest per capita polluters in Australia.
• NT emissions will continue to rise with the INPEX Ichthys project, the proposed opening up of the Territory to unconventional gas production, new land clearing permits, and increased offshore gas processing
• When the INPEX Ichthys project comes online this year, the project is expected to emit an average of seven million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.
• Once the Ichthys Project is fully operational, onshore and offshore emissions are expected to account for about 1.2% of Australia’s total CO2.
• Exploiting the Territory’s unconventional gas reserves [accessed through fracking] could increase Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions by over 5%.
• If the Beetaloo Basin is fracked it is estimated that the carbon emissions will be four to five times that of the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine.
• The NT Government has put 15,000 square kilometres into special reserved land for coal development in the Perdirka Basin.
• Land targeted for clearing in the NT has increased nearly tenfold in the past two years.
• In 2016 and 2017, the NT government approved about 45,500 hectares for clearing through the Pastoral Lands Board. That was an almost tenfold jump over the average of the previous 12 years of about 4,600 ha.
• The number of days over 35C in Darwin has increased from 5.6 per year to 22.2 per year. CSIRO modeling estimates that without climate action this could rise to 132 days per year in 2030 and 275 days per year in 2070.
By ERWIN CHLANDA