Accelerating climate change is harming lives, livelihoods and the places we cherish. These impacts will continue to worsen while we continue to burn coal, oil and gas. Fortunately, there are viable solutions and alternatives available.
This report provides one of the first pathways for eliminating gas demand in New South Wales by 2050. Following this pathway would reduce gas demand substantially. In 10 to 15 years – possibly as soon as 2030 – demand for gas would decline by an amount that is equivalent to the output of Santos’s expensive and polluting Narrabri Gas Project in the state’s Northwest under this pathway.
New South Wales can respond to the climate challenge by greatly reducing gas consumption over the next decade – and this report shows the pathway for doing so.
1. Gas demand within New South Wales could be 70% lower as soon as 2030, and eventually eliminated altogether, using readily-available, commercially-viable technologies.
- NSW homes use 30% of the state’s gas. This demand can be eliminated by the early 2030s with straightforward appliance upgrades and replacements.
- Commercial buildings use 18% of NSW’s gas. With capital work upgrades, which includes replacing gas boilers with electric heat pumps, three-quarters of this demand would be gone.
- Each small business is not a major gas user in NSW, but collectively they have a substantial impact. It is relatively straightforward to eliminate gas use through electrification in industries like the food and beverage sector, and such upgrades will also improve the long-term profitability of these businesses by reducing exposure to volatile and expensive gas prices.
2. Common-sense measures to reduce gas demand in New South Wales make the expensive and polluting Narrabri Gas Project unnecessary.
- Work by energy consultancy Northmore Gordon (commissioned by the Climate Council) shows that measures to reduce gas demand in New South Wales could cut annual demand in the state over the next 10-15 years by around 70 petajoules per year, the same amount that the Narrabri Gas Project would produce.
- With the right policy support, this report shows NSW gas consumption can be reduced by around one quarter between today and 2025; by more than two-thirds as soon as 2030; and entirely eliminated by 2050.
- Much of New South Wales’s gas (48%) is used to provide heat energy to spaces – such as living spaces – water and industrial processes. The solution is to combine energy efficiency with electrification, reducing energy use and using electricity.
3. There is no shortage of gas anywhere in Australia, with the growing demands of a swollen gas export industry driving domestic supply issues, higher energy bills and worsening climate change.
- Australia is now the world’s largest liquefied gas exporter with three times more gas sent
overseas each year than is used in Australia. This growth in exports has come at a massive cost to Australian businesses and households, which are now dangerously exposed to the boom-bust cycles of the international liquefied gas market.
- Western Australia’s gas production is now triple what it was a decade ago. Over the same time Queensland’s gas production has ballooned to five times what it was.
- A global supply gas glut in the second half of 2019 – exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 – resulted in a short-lived reprieve from steep gas prices in Australia. Analysis of data from the Australia Energy Regulator shows sky-high gas prices have returned across the eastern seaboard.
4. It is critically important for our economy, health and climate that every state and territory in Australia transitions away from fossil fuels like gas as quickly as possible.
- The world’s climate scientists have issued a “code red” in response to accelerating climate change. This is harming Australian lives, livelihoods and ecosystems via climate-fuelled extreme weather such as megafires, severe drought and deadly heatwaves.
- While there are many substantial and effective emissions reduction policies in place at the state and territory level, these policies are still insufficient in scale, coverage and pace to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. A stronger, more complete and more bold response to the climate crisis is required by all levels of government.
- The measures put in place so far in New South Wales on renewable energy and electric vehicles will go some way to cutting demand for coal and oil over the next decade. However, more work is needed to reduce demand for gas, the world’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution.
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