Massive NT fracking emissions will cost billions to offset

Offsetting fracking emissions identified by the Northern Territory Fracking Inquiry would reach $4.3 billion in costs per year if fracking in the NT is at full production by 2030 and $53 billion over the decade from 2030-40, finds new research from the Australia Institute.

The new analysis released today uses Australian Government modelling of the international price of greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with Australia’s Paris commitment to keeping global warming below 2 degrees.

“The Fracking Inquiry found emissions from Northern Territory fracking were unacceptable and the NT Government has accepted their recommendation to fully offset all fracking emissions,” says Mark Ogge, Principal Adviser at The Australia Institute.

“The massive cost of offsetting fracking emissions reflects the massive damage that emissions from fracking will do to the atmosphere.

“The Northern Territory Fracking Inquiry suggested that emissions could be offset by the early closure of coal power stations elsewhere in Australia, however, our research shows this would require closing virtually all of Victoria’s coal power stations or equivalent.

“Cheap offsets are not an option. The price for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions is an international price, consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 2-degree target. This is the real cost of abatement. Any genuine offset will be this price or more.

“If the Northern Territory pursues other offsetting options suggested by the inquiry, like the early retirement of coal power stations, it will be interesting to see how they negotiate the closure of Victoria’s entire coal fleet to make room for NT fracking emissions, for instance.

“We should be keeping this resource firmly in the ground. But if fracking does go ahead in the NT it is critical to fully offset fracking emissions as recommended by the Fracking Inquiry and committed to by the Northern Territory Government.

“It is extraordinary that the Northern Territory government would decide to allow fracking of this scale when cutting emissions should be their number one priority to avert global catastrophe.”

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Anna Chang Communications Director

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anna@australiainstitute.org.au