GISERA and conflict of interest
A fundamental conflict of interest underlies the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Alliance (GISERA), making it an inappropriate organisation to undertake research to evaluate the social and environmental impacts of unconventional gas development.
What is GISERA?
The Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) is an alliance agreement between the five biggest unconventional gas companies in Australia (Australia Pacific LNG, Origin Energy, QGC, AGL and Santos) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Conflict of interest:
Gas industry executives sit on all the committees overseeing GISERA research projects. The National Research Management Committee (NRMC) which oversees finance and research of all the regional committees has four gas industry executives amongst its eight members. The Regional Research Advisory Committees (RRAC) each have two gas industry executives out of their ten members.
GISERA research influences policy makers on key decisions on whether to allow unconventional gas development to proceed. The gas companies that make up GISERA have billions of dollars at stake depending on whether unconventional gas development is allowed to go ahead. The GISERA conflict of interest policy does not adequately address this fundamental conflict of interest.
The five main Queensland gas companies provide over half of GISERA’s funding. GISERA now also receives funding from federal and state governments. Government funding has made up 23 per cent of GISERA’s funding to date. There is a substantial body of literature that finds research outcomes are heavily influenced by the corporate funding.