Australia’s fossil fuel expansion plans equivalent to over 200 new coal power stations

New research from the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program reveals that planned new gas and coal projects in Australia would result in almost 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2e emissions annually – equivalent to building over 200 new coal power stations. This would be four times the amount of new coal power stations planned by China and almost double the carbon footprint of global aviation.

Key Findings:

  • The total carbon footprint from planned fossil fuel projects in Australia is equivalent to:
    • over 200 coal power stations;
    • almost twice the CO2 emissions from global aviation;
    • 24 times the annual emissions of all 14 Pacific Island countries;
    • more than three times Australia’s annual emissions.
  • Australia currently has 72 new coal projects and 44 new gas and oil projects under development, and several new gas basins – including the Beetaloo and Canning gas basins – where development is being actively supported by Governments, including through large government subsidies.
    • These projects would more than double Australia’s gas and coal production, producing more gas and coal than Australia already currently produces. Australia is already the largest coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter in the world.
    • The carbon footprint of proposed new coal projects in Australia would be around 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2e per annum
      • Including 52 million tonnes of domestic emissions, and 1.3 billion tonnes of exported emissions
    • The carbon footprint of proposed new gas projects in Australia would be 290 million tonnes of CO2e per annum
      • Including 95 million tonnes of domestic emissions, and 196 million tonnes of exported emissions
  • The total carbon footprint from planned fossil fuel projects in Australia would be almost 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2e.  (Including around 1.6 billion tonnes of exported emissions and 146 million tonnes of domestic emissions)

“As the world comes together in Glasgow to fight climate change, Australia is putting its foot on the accelerator and doubling down on fossil fuel expansion,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute.

“The Australian Government is aggressively pursuing a huge expansion of coal and gas projects, equivalent to over 200 new coal power stations. To point to China is disingenuous, Australia’s planned gas and coal expansion would be four times the amount of new coal power stations planned by China and almost double the carbon footprint of global aviation.

“The Australian Government is acting as a protector and promoter of the coal industry. Australia is simply providing cover to other G20 major emitters like China and Brazil, that are also refusing to increase short term targets and efforts.

“This scorched earth policy has exposed Australia’s net zero 2050 plan as a fraud. Australia cannot claim to be acting on climate change while simultaneously expanding fossil fuel projects.

“The chilly global reception to Scott Morrison’s hollow net zero by 2050 plan shows that the world has caught on to the Australian Prime Minister’s announcements-over-action antics. It is time for world leaders to draw a line in the sand: don’t let Australia cheat on climate change and wreck Glasgow COP26.”

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