While the PM and his Resources Minister tout the benefits of using gas as a ‘transition fuel’, CSIRO research says fugitive methane from extraction puts gas on a par with coal for emissions.
Here’s the thing. Methane in the atmosphere is a potent greenhouse gas, 30 times more than CO2, and levels have more than doubled since the pre-industrial era.
We know that gas extraction and use is a major factor but complications in measuring the source of these emissions – geological or human-related – have to date clouded the issue .
The CSIRO, by using preindustrial ice cores, has now been able to show the sources precisely and found that human activity emissions have been underestimated by 25-40 percent!
See here for the CSIRO article in Nature.
And what might be the reason Coalition is backing gas? It received $1.8m in fossil fuel company donations in the last 4 years (the ALP received $1.2m).
Meanwhile, industry deception continues unabated:
Gas-fired power generators can be ramped up and ramped down more quickly than coal-fired generators which makes them ideal for meeting peak demand as well as for providing baseload power. The facilities required for these generators use less land than that required for a coal-fired power plant of a similar energy output and they need less time for construction. Carbon emissions from gas-fired power generation are about 50 to 60 per cent lower than from coal-fired power.
To have reliable energy and lower emissions, natural gas is essential. As a readily dispatchable power source, gas-fired power is an ideal partner with renewables to provide the necessary system stability.
Natural gas is the lowest emission hydrocarbon fuel and is incredibly dense in energy. One cargo of LNG can power tens of millions of homes or one home for 30,000 years.
Natural gas is one of the mainstays of global energy. Where it replaces more polluting fuels, it improves air quality and limits emissions of carbon dioxide. Dr Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director
International Gas Union Natural Gas. An agent of change in the fight against urban air pollution