38 of Australia’s top scientists and experts have warned the Government of Western Australia is breaking a key election promise by lifting the WA fracking moratorium without conducting a full assessment of climate change impacts.
The group wrote an open statement to the WA Premier Mark McGowan and Ministers of the WA Government, noting they strongly reject the conclusions and recommendations of the Independent Fracking Inquiry report as it has ‘seriously underestimated’ the potential carbon pollution from state-wide fracking.
The group (which includes leading scientists Professor Fiona Stanley, Dr Liz Hanna and Professor Ove Hoegh Guldberg) states that the report has ignored pollution that would result from combustion of the fracked gas which is likely to account for up to 80 per cent of the pollution from fracking. In addition, the report assumes that gas fracking will result in less conventional gas being developed in WA and therefore only the marginal increase in pollution should be considered.
The group states that the WA Government’s Fracking Inquiry instead relied on a series of ‘questionable methods’ to arrive at the conclusion that fracking in WA would not cause significant material harm to the climate.
Conservation Council of WA Director, Piers Verstegen, said their analysis showed that the Fracking Inquiry lacked credibility in the critical area of climate change and its finding could not be relied upon by the government or the community.
“[In 2017] Premier Mark McGowan made an important election commitment to maintain the moratorium on fracking if it was found to ‘contribute adversely to climate change’ following a ‘full analysis of lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions’,” he said.
“The Fracking Inquiry has clearly not met this important election commitment. To allow fracking based on these flawed and highly questionable assumptions would be a broken commitment and a serious breach of trust on a key election issue.”
“It is not credible to base such an important decision on highly questionable advice that disregards the science on climate change, ignores the largest source of fracking pollution, and assumes a very small fracking industry,” Mr Verstegen stated.
Lastly, the group of scientists and industry experts called on the Premier and the State Government to place a permanent state-wide ban on fracking in WA, to prevent additional carbon pollution and climate change impacts.
Premier Mark McGowan has not made a comment as of writing this article, and it will be updated accordingly once he or the Government has done so.
The scientists’ joint statement can be found here.