Govt funding supporting gas industry in Australia

According to a report by Lisa Cox of the Australia, the government is aware that the purpose of this is to facilitate the development of the massive Beetaloo Basin gas potential in isolated terrain south of Middle Arm; however, the government does not mention this publicly.

The political events that have taken place in Canberra this week hint at a crucial battleground for the upcoming federal election.

Over eighty medical professionals they are gathered in the nation’s capital to voice their opposition to the government’s backing of the development of fossil fuel extraction in the Northern Territory. Although it might not seem like a huge number of people, it is, in fact, symbolic of a more significant movement that is supported by a number of crossbenchers, including David Pocock and Monique Ryan.

A request that the government of Albanese pull $1.5 billion in funding for an industrial development at Middle Arm, which is located south of Darwin, has received support from approximately 2,300 medical professionals. The financing is a holdover from the time when Morrison was in office. When Labor returned to power in 2017, it had the intention of slashing funding for the Coalition’s never-delivered “gas-led recovery” from the epidemic. In several instances, it went ahead and did so. However, the funds necessary for the development of NT were preserved.

When it comes to gas in the NT, Labor has had trouble getting its narrative straight. The term “sustainable development precinct” has been used to refer to the project. Anthony Albanese told the parliament on Tuesday that there was one project in Middle Arm that was “potentially associated with fossil fuels,” while the other five projects were for clean energy and resources. These five projects included solar, hydrogen, and vital minerals.

According to the documents that were made public as part of the Freedom of information act, this is not how it has been described within the company.

In a briefing to the government shortly after Labor took office in July of last year, officials from the environment department described Middle Arm as “a key enabler.” This enabled the development of the Beetaloo so that gas could be transported north – that is, extracted, processed, and mostly exported as liquified natural gas – with the intention of “further benefiting the NT economy.” Middle Arm was described as “a key enabler” in the briefing.

The media has reported on other papers that indicate the NT Labor government, which is a staunch and at times aggressive advocate of the growth of the gas business, described Middle Arm as a “new demand gas centre” in its initial presentation to Infrastructure Australia. This was described as part of the government’s original proposal to Infrastructure Australia.

In no way does any of this suggest that there won’t be environmentally conscious features incorporated into the development at Middle Arm. On the other hand, it reveals that the expansion and spread of fossil fuels are part of the reason for its existence. During this week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, referred to the undertaking as “infrastructure that will develop clean industries as well as enabling Australia’s gas industry.” She was speaking about the project in the context of an economic transformation.

Why should we care about this? Because the evidence indicates that large-scale new gas developments are in conflict with measures to deal with the climate catastrophe, I’ll stop talking if you’ve already heard this one before. If we are serious about addressing the issue of global warming and obtaining net zero emissions by year 2050, International Energy Agency recommended more than two years ago that there should be no new oil and gas fields developed. To argue differently is to engage in sophistry rather than practicality.

Indeed, the usage of gas will persist for at least a little while longer. Even though we still consume a significant amount of it, it is not as much as is commonly suggested that we do: around 80% of it is exported or used locally by the industry that exports it. It will take some time to electrify houses and businesses, and it is probable that gas will continue to play niche role in Australia as a source of backup electricity and in a few industries where it cannot be easily substituted for other forms of energy.

But if the government is going to be consistent on climate – and if it is sincere in its support for trying to limit average global heating to 1.5C, as it claims to be – then it should publicly embrace the idea that we need to use as little gas as possible. This is something that the government should do if it is serious about its support for measures to limit average global heating to 1.5C. The goal should not be to develop the industry in an effort to grab more money from offshore drilling but rather to have enough gas to fulfil the diminishing demand.

This is the undertaking that has been started in the Northern Territory as well as in the waters off the coast of northern Western Australia. It is not about contributing to the fight against the climate problem. There is abundant data to suggest that gas produces significant emissions.

According to the findings of Climate Analytics, gas has surpassed coal as the primary contributor to the growth of world emissions. There is no solution to this problem that can be found in carbon offsets or in the capture and storage of carbon. There are often low-cost and environmentally friendly options available.

On the topic of how the gas sector should be controlled, there are a few main schools of thought. The fact that it does not receive support from the government ought to be your first consideration. Even though Madeleine King, the Minister of Resources, may argue otherwise, the fact remains that the current funding for Middle Arm is a subsidy that, at least in part, goes against what the government is seeking to accomplish.

The labour movement is strongly split on the issue of gas. The government of the Northern Territory (NT) supports the business in the name of economic development and disregards scientific concerns as trolls coming from southerners living in large cities. King claims that gas has the potential to pull millions of people out of poverty; however, this claim seems questionable when one considers that the largest consumer of Australian gas is Japan, a wealthy country that, according to analysts, has been reneging on its climate pledges.

There have been those on the Labor side who have been more critical. Some people are sceptical about the ability of many new ventures to succeed economically. Ed Husic, the minister for industry, has admitted that there is no shortage of gas in Australia and has claimed that the gas corporations are being greedy. Chris Bowen, who is the minister of climate change and energy, has established regulations that the heads of various industries have not been happy with. These restrictions will need to become more stringent: a new objective for the year 2035 is expected to be released before the election.

There is still a lot of time left before that happens, but I have a feeling that the most important question for the expanding population of voters who are being inspired by the climate catastrophe will be whether or not the government intends to continue supporting the spread of fossil fuels.

They are becoming increasingly willing to vote for someone else if they don’t like the outcome of the election, as we saw happen last year.

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