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Game-changer: new report exposes unconventional gas as dangerous polluting fuel

Lock the Gate has described a new report by the Melbourne Energy Institute, released today, on methane emissions from unconventional gas in Australia as a ‘game changer’, which highlights the dangerous uncontrolled methane pollution that gasfields leak into the atmosphere.

“This report blows apart the gas industry myth that they are better than coal when it comes to carbon emissions” said George Woods, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance.

“The unconventional gas industry is a major polluter that has refused to conduct measurements of methane emissions and has been trying to sweep its true impacts under the carpet.

“The industry has been allowed to hoodwink the community and bully our governments on the big lie that it is not as bad as coal when it comes to climate change impacts.

“However, this report reveals that actual rates of fugitive methane emissions measured above comparable US gas fields are 170 times the level claimed by the gas industry in Australia.

“Australian Governments must now urgently halt unconventional gas mining in Australia until the full scale of methane pollution has been properly quantified” he said.

The report, commissioned by The Australian Institute, found that:

  • Actual measurements of methane fugitive emissions from unconventional gas fields in the US are far higher than levels assumed by industry and government in Australia and the US.
  • While the industry in Australia has claimed that fugitive emissions amount to only 0.1% of gas production, actual measurements above US gas fields have recorded fugitive emissions up to 17% of production, 170 times the level claimed by the gas industry.
  • If leakage rates in Australia from existing coal seam gasfields amount to just 10% of production this would equate to emissions equivalent to fuel combustion from Australia’s entire transport sector.
  • Australian reporting of unconventional gas fugitive emissions to the UNFCCC is beset by a number of weaknesses including:
  1. A lack of baseline measurements
  2. A reliance on pre-determined emission ‘factors’
  3. A lack of top down studies and extremely limited bottom up studies
  4. Major gaps in the reporting of emissions from unconventional gas ‘production’


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