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Top End shale gas development would blow carbon budget

a whole other level of risk and impact

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 6 Feb 2018
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/top-end-shale-gas-development-would-blow-australias-carbon-budget-tai-says-20180204-h0tc5m.html

Developing the Northern Territory's onshore shale oil and gas resources could release the equivalent of 34 billion tonnes of carbon emissions, equal to 60 times Australia's current annual carbon pollution, according to The Australia Institute.

The estimate is made in the institute's submission on the draft final report of a scientific inquiry into the risks of hydraulic fracturing – or fracking  – in the territory scheduled for completion next month.

The submission challenged the inquiry's use of a single 365 petajoule per year shale gas field producing the equivalent of 5 per cent of Australia's national emission to conclude the industry would have only a "low" consequence and to be of "acceptable" risk.

"Even a 5 per cent increase in Australia's emissions from a single gas field is a large and unacceptable increase," the submission said. "It is completely inconsistent with Australia's carbon budget and our commitments under the Paris agreement."

Having identified the resource to total 257,276 petajoules, the inquiry should have based its assessment on the cumulative impact of multiple oil gas fields that may be developed, the TAI said.

Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, particularly over shorter periods, such as 20 years, when its warming impact is about 87 times greater.

Burning the NT's total gas resource would alone emit 12.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent.

Adding fugitive methane emissions through leaks or seepage through the earth's crust – estimated to be between 2-17 per cent in the US shale fields – suggests a much bigger impact.

"This is equivalent to 130 large coal power plants operating for up to 40 years," according to the submission, compiled in part by Tim Forcey and Dimitri Lafluer, formerly with BHP and Shell, respectively.

"A carbon price and valid measurement and reporting of methane emissions would – of course – push the internal gas-producer economics to greater recovery of methane," Mr Forcey said.
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