THE NEW SOUTH WALES Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has delivered a devastating blow to our climate and economy by approving Santos’ polluting Narrabri Gas Project.
A key concern relating to the climate impacts of this project is the fact that Santos had dramatically downplayed the emissions its project would produce.
“This move has come back to bite them,” said Climate Councillor and climate change expert, Professor Will Steffen, who gave evidence to the IPC.
“As part of this approval, Santos will now be bound to hold greenhouse emissions from the project to the levels contained in their development approval or be penalised,” he said.
“Approving this project and developing new gas is fundamentally at odds with protecting Australians from climate change. It is sending us backwards,” said Professor Steffen.
“It is also a huge loss for the local communities and farmers who have fought against this polluting project for almost a decade,” he said.
“The Narrabri Gas Project will increase Australia’s emissions, further exacerbating the kinds of climate impacts that Australia – and NSW in particular – has experienced with the Black Summer of devastating bushfires, drought, and heat,” said Professor Steffen.
“Gas is expensive, polluting and a poor public investment, which is why 75 percent of Australians would prefer to see investment in renewable energy, over gas,” said Greg Bourne, former President of BP Australasia and advisor to Margaret Thatcher.
“Narrabri gas may even drive up Australians’ power prices, as well as NSW, and Australia’s emissions,” said Mr Bourne.
“Despite this decision, the Narrabri gas project is not a done deal, and it still has many hoops to jump through before gas production can begin, and is likely to fall over at the financial and environmental hurdles,” he said.
NSW Environment Minister, Matt Kean, acknowledged to the media this morning that the project is risky: “You only need to look at capital and investment cycles. Already we’re seeing people getting out of fossil fuels and that will only increase”.
“The future of this project is now in the NSW Government’s hands, and it’s up to them to make the right decision,” said Mr Bourne.
“Australia needs a plan for clean jobs that will get people back to work and tackle long term issues like climate change. The Clean Jobs Plan would get 76,000 Australians back to work now,” he said.
“We have an enormous opportunity to be a world leader in renewable energy. Australia should be using this unique time to invest in the jobs and industries of the future. We should be embracing the future – not clinging onto our polluting past,” said Mr Bourne.
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