LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The cost of offsetting fracking emissions in the Northern Territory would reach $4.3 billion in costs per year if fracking in the NT is at full production by 2030 and $53 billion over the decade from 2030-40, finds new research from the Australia Institute.
The new analysis released today uses emissions projections from the NT Fracking Inquiry and Australian Government modelling of the international price of greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with Australia’s commitment under the Paris Agreement of keeping global warming below two degrees.
The Fracking Inquiry found emissions from NT fracking were unacceptable and the NT Government has accepted their recommendation to fully offset all fracking emissions.
The massive cost of offsetting fracking emissions reflects the massive damage that emissions from fracking will do to the atmosphere.
The inquiry suggested that emissions could be offset by the early closure of coal power stations elsewhere in Australia, however our research shows this would require the equivalent of closing virtually all of Victoria’s coal power stations.
Cheap offsets are not an option. The price for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions is an international price, consistent with the Paris Agreement’s two degree target. This is the real cost of abatement. Any genuine offset will be this price or more.
If the NT pursues other offsetting options suggested by the inquiry, like early retirement of coal power stations, it will be interesting to see how they negotiate the closure of Victoria’s entire coal fleet to make room for NT fracking emissions, for instance.
We should be keeping this resource firmly in the ground. But if fracking does go ahead in the NT it is critical to fully offset fracking emissions as recommended by the inquiry and committed to by the NT Government.
It is extraordinary that the NT Government would decide to allow fracking of this scale when cutting emissions should be their number one priority to avert global catastrophe.
Principal Adviser at The Australia Institute
Photo by Peter Aengst, The Wilderness Society. Image provided with the Letter the Editor.