As the Federal Government make plans for Australia’s financial recovery from COVID-19, our Prime Minister is advocating for further investments into the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry, as a way of driving jobs and economic growth.
This World Environment Day, however, the Uniting Church WA is calling to use this opportunity to move towards clean energy.
Back in February this year, the Uniting Church WA joined other community organisations to sign the RenewWA statement, calling on the State Government to invest in reliable jobs, renewable energy and a safe future for all.
Research released in December last year from the Global Carbon Project found that despite a decline in global coal consumption, increasing natural gas processing use was the biggest contributor to growth in global emissions in 2019, triggering a 0.6% emissions increase globally in 2019.
Maggie Wood from Clean State, a Western Australian based climate change advocacy group, said the data was sobering for WA and provided yet more evidence of the urgent need to get WA’s rapidly rising gas pollution under control.
“What this data shows clearly is that WA LNG exports are not helping reduce global emissions as claimed – instead our exports have seen LNG take over from coal as the biggest contributor to growth in global emissions,” she said.
“The claim that Australian gas is good for the climate is dangerously misleading and this pretense must be abandoned so that we can start contributing real solutions which will benefit Western Australia and the rest of the world.
“Gas production has a massive emissions footprint as we are seeing here in WA. We also know that LNG releases enormous amounts of methane into the atmosphere – a greenhouse gas that is far more potent than CO2. The amount of methane released negates any advantage LNG has over coal.
“Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 globally is essential to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. Research shows that even if global coal use was eliminated overnight, burning the oil and gas reserves already being exploited will take the world past 1.5 degrees.”
Investing in clean energy could also create thousands of new jobs for people in Western Australia.
Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, said that now is the time to move away from gas and towards renewable energy.
“Australia has made the very modest commitment under the Paris Agreement that pollution will be reduced by 26-28% from 2005 levels by 2030. But we will not meet even this commitment with a plan to invest in gas,” he said.
“As we begin to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions and plan Australia’s economic growth, we have a great opportunity to think wisely about where we invest for our future. Now is the time to move away from gas and towards renewable energy, to create new jobs and industry for a clean future.”
Find out more
Read more about the Renew WA Statement the Uniting Church WA joined in February.
Get involved with the WA Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.
Download the report from Clean State and the Conservation Council of WA on the impact of WA’s LNG industry on meeting our targets to tackle climate change: Runaway Train.
Uniting Earth, an advocacy team of the Uniting Church NSW ACT, have some great resources available for Uniting Churches who are passionate about climate justice, including this World Environment Day 2020 Bushfire Prayer Video.
Top image: Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, joins other religious and community members at the launch of the Renew WA Statement in February this year at Cottesloe Beach.