Thursday, 15 March 2018

Australian gas and coal fuel myth-busting

Information from cedamia Climate Emergency Declaration team

Banning NEW fossil fuel extraction projects is one of the asks in our No More Bad Investments (NMBI) petitions, so we’ve been investigating the impacts that can be expected if states/territories enact the model No More Bad Investments (NMBI) legislation drafted by Environmental Justice Australia and Philip Sutton.

Point 1: We don't need any new coal mines or gas wells to 'keep the lights on'. We already export about twice as much 'energy' as we consume within Australia, and local demand is fairly flat.

Point 2: ALL the coal and gas extracted from ALL new coal mines and gas wells in Australia will be exported (or an equivalent amount from existing mines and wells would be freed up for export). Despite the claims of there being an east-coast gas shortage, the gas demand within Australia is falling. The only demand that is rising is Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports - the brown area in the graph below.

Point 3: NEW fossil fuel extraction projects will give surprisingly little financial benefit to Australia. Onshore projects pay state royalties, although this brings in less than one might expect, but if you subtract the generous subsidies states give to new projects the figures are even lower. For example, over the six years from 2010-11 to 2015-16, Queensland received an average of $1.94 billion/year in coal royalties. But if you subtract the $1.27 billion/year in subsidies the Queensland coal transport sector received over the six years from 2008-09 to 2013-14, Queensland's 'gain' from its numerous coal mines was only around $670 million/year. 

Offshore oil and gas projects don't pay state royalties, but all oil and gas projects are subject to the federal Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT). However, the PRRT settings are so generous that new extraction projects won't pay any PRRT for a decade or more, and PRRT 'credits' even offset income tax liability - we are more less giving away the oil and gas from new projects.

According to ATO corporate transparency data, at least 22 major fossil fuel companies paid no income tax in 2015-16, including Santos (income of $3.47 billion) and Beach Energy (income of $589 million), along with international companies like Chevron, Shell, and ExxonMobil. Most also paid none in the preceding two years.

Point 4: Fossil fuel exports do not count against meeting carbon reduction targets. Even if Australia were to achieve a super-rapid transition to 100% renewable electricity and electrified transport, our actual climate impact from fossil fuel exports would still be double the climate impact from all the fossil fuels we currently use within Australia.

See this article for more details. State by state details concerning the above myth-busting points can be seen in the Talking Points on our website for SA, Qld, Vic, and NSW

Please help smash the social licence for new fossil fuel extraction projects by sharing the above mythbuster infographic far and wide on Facebook and Twitter. We think even the 'man in the street' might view new coal mines and gas wells in a new light if they knew just how little benefit they bring us….although of course they should be banned for climate reasons even if they did make us rich.


No More Bad Investments (NMBI) campaigns in NSW

NSW: We're delighted to be partnering with the Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) on the NMBI campaign in NSW, particularly since deforestation for wood bio-mass as fuel is currently such a big issue in NSW. If you'd like to help promote the NSW NMBI petition, here are social media links to share:

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