Skip navigation

Emissions from recently approved fossil fuel projects in New South Wales

A new expert analysis reveals operational emissions produced from the eight major fossil fuel projects approved by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) since the authority was created will total nearly 90 million tonnes.

This is the same amount the NSW Government's Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap is expected to abate between now and 2030.

The report, written by Griffith University Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe, ultimately finds the Commission has “comprehensively failed to require mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions."

Read and download the full report here

Professor Lowe finds that, based on the most generous overall assessment, the IPC has only implemented conditions that could lead to the abatement of 7.7 million tonnes out of a total of 1,387 million tonnes of all greenhouse emissions from the eight projects (Scope 1, 2 & 3).

While downstream (Scope 3) emissions constitute the lion’s share of greenhouse gases to be released from the eight projects, the report demonstrates that nearly 90Mt of operational emissions (Scope 1 & 2) will also occur as direct emissions of methane and carbon dioxide at mining operations and emissions arising indirectly from electricity use.

The report states: “Even if it were considered acceptable to overlook the huge contribution to climate change of Scope 3 emissions from these projects, the Scope 1 and 2 emissions add up to 89 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent; that is nearly 20 per cent of Australia’s total national emissions last year. Reducing or, ideally, eliminating those emissions would be a significant contribution to our obligation to help slow climate change."

Consideration of conditions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is a requirement of all IPC decisions about coal mining and coal seam gas projects in New South Wales.  

However Professor Lowe’s report shows the IPC has recommended a hodgepodge of vague, mostly unenforceable, conditions that have done little or nothing to abate operational emissions despite measures being available to prevent them.

Read and download the full report here

Continue Reading

Read More

Reform of the EPBC Act Water Trigger

February 06, 2024

A new expert report exposes how big gas projects are exploiting failings in federal laws designed to protect one of Australia's most precious resources - water. But the report Reform of the EPBC Act Water Trigger, written by hydrologist Dr Matthew Currell and environmental advocacy Earth...

Read more

Safeguard Mechanism Report

October 09, 2023

Read the Full ReportEnergy Resource Insights Briefing Report: Money for Nothing - Australia coal mines under the reformed Safeguard Mechanism The report finds that: A number of large Australian coal mines will be able to significantly increase their emissions this decade under the reformed...

Read more