NT the biggest climate change offender


2529 Jimmy Cocking 130By 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.


  1. Good on you, Jimmy Cocking, for voicing your concerns!
    Unfortunately, for most politicians making the decisions it still seems to be more about short term money-making and less about the future of all of us and our beautiful country!

  2. Apart from all the other considerations listed in Jim’s article, all of which have been shot down in national press this week, I can’t believe that land has been put aside in the Pedirka basin for exploration.
    This basin overlies 600 million tonnes of high quality coal.
    As a shareholder in Central Petroleum, I attended their AGM in Perth several years ago and spoke at length with the then CEO John Heugh about that prospect and remember distinctly when he returned from the Colson Track to Old Andado with the initial soil samples and proclaimed “we’ve got it”.
    I was there at that moment. Subsequent to that, there was an attempt to gain influence over the CTP board by Clive Palmer who planned to convert the company into a coal miner and build a railway from the central Simpson to Gladstone in Queensland to export it.
    I am proud to say that I voiced strong opposition as the desert is very dear to me. This may have been a part of the reason why the Giles administration upgraded a section of the Old Andado road east of Allambi in anticipation.
    If this Government is supporting at arm’s length such developments – shame on them.
    Both gas and coal are obsolete as a long term future source of fuel as the Indian Government is at last recognising.
    The BBC reported this week of the pollution problems that currently are causing much concern in Mumbai and other places largely due to fossil fuel consumption for electricity generation and transport.
    In the light of this, one has to question the sanity of our Government policy which exacerbates a world wide problem and showers ridicule on the Adani project in Queensland (and our Government).
    One wonders what will happen to the coal that may be extracted.
    My guess is that they will re-export it to China and in doing so thumb their noses at our expense and our ignorance.
    India’s population will exceed that of China within 20 years and as Lee Quan Yu once said we will be the white trash of Asia.
    Surely, a Government that claims to have some green sympathies as ours does, can do better than that.
    In the meantime India is looking to develop electricity generation based on thorium and nuclear waste while we fiddle around with soon to become obsolete fossil fuel based technology.
    Silly actions such as the one cited above will not help. The same goes for food production in arid zones.
    We have it. They need it, but we build houses on land which could supply what they want.

  3. @ Trevor: A great article. However re Thorium, the current favoured design is a Liquid Floride Thorium Reactor, currently estimated at least 40 to 70 years away.
    They are small reactors that would need a contract to build many, 1000s … really not commercially viable.
    Having said that I’m not against nuclear power in Australia, in fact I’d vote yes if asked.


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