Canberra Times: 'Unsafe future': Australia commits to decades more gas

May 10, 2024 2:58 PM

More gas extraction has been given the green light under a plan promising to prolong use of the fossil fuel while still realising Australia's net zero ambitions.

But critics have panned the future gas strategy, which locks in supplies for consumers through to 2050 and beyond, arguing the federal government is enabling the fossil fuel industry to wreck the environment.

Resources Minister Madeleine King said access to affordable gas was key to achieving Australia's commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, as she released the plan on Thursday.

Gas is needed to provide firming for intermittent renewable power generation and in hard-to-abate sectors such as manufacturing until alternative technologies become commercially viable, she claimed.

Ms King failed to convince Greens leader Adam Bandt, who branded Labor "utter climate frauds".

The Lock the Gate alliance of farmers and conservationists said the gas strategy would blow Australia's climate targets and damage land, water and communities, while the Australian Marine Conservation Society warned it would put the Great Barrier Reef at risk.

Djingili Elder Samuel Sandy, chair of the Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation, said solar and not gas was the answer to drilling into land in the Northern Territory.

"It's already getting hotter here, making it harder to live on country. Digging and burning more gas will make this worse," he said.

"If our country is fracked, where are we going to take our grandchildren out on country to teach them, the way my grandfather taught me?"

Lucy Manne, CEO of climate group 350 Australia, said Ms King was "doing the dirty work of the gas lobby" by spruiking massive new gas fields.

"More gas means more pollution and that means worse fires and floods. We can't have a safe future and massive new gas projects," she said.

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