News

Carbon tax could kill CSG

GAS METER: Dr Isaac Santos and Dr Damien Maher with Southern Cross University’s portable methane analyser.
GAS METER: Dr Isaac Santos and Dr Damien Maher with Southern Cross University’s portable methane analyser.

IF COAL seam gas companies pay the appropriate carbon tax on their emissions, it could price them out of business, according to climate and renewable energy think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE).

Two Southern Cross University (SCU) scientists - biogeochemists Dr Damien Maher and Dr Isaac Santos - reported last week they had measured fugitive emissions (leaking gases) of more than three times the normal background levels of methane and carbon dioxide around coal seam gas mining sites near Tara in Queensland. The readings are similar to US Department of Energy figures from CSG fields in Wyoming.

At Tara, Maher and Santos found readings of 6.8 parts per million (ppm), while near

Lismore the highest reading was 1.82ppm, and at Casino airport it was 2.20ppm.

Dr Maher said the Tara readings were "extremely high".

"They are some of the highest ever found anywhere," he said. "Higher than those found in Siberia, in some of the largest gas fields in Russia."

Matthew Wright, executive director of BZE, said if a CSG well leaked a low 1% of fugitive emissions (nearly 10 times what gas companies are claiming would be the case), it would be liable for $31,700 a year at the current carbon price of $23 a tonne.

"But based on US and the preliminary SCU data, emissions are likely to exceed 4%, bringing a carbon price liability of $126,800 - an annual overall carbon price liability of around $3.8 billion for the projected 30,000 wells in Australia," Mr Wright said.

"When the real rate of fugitive emissions is established and the current carbon price liability calculated, CSG projects may no longer be profitable."

Meanwhile a stoush has developed between the pro-CSG lobby and the towers of academia.

Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson told an energy conference in Sydney that the SCU study was "a cynical attempt to grab headlines" that "abandoned usual scientific practice", adding that the findings should not have been released until they had been peer-reviewed.

The normal process for peer review is for work to be submitted to a scientific journal, which the SCU scientists have done. It can take several months after publication for a peer review process to be completed. Dr Santos has reported that he has already received messages of support from scientists working in the field.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association wrote to SCU vice-chancellor Peter Lee complaining that the Santos and Maher research "had not met basic standards of a genuinely scientific rigorous approach."

Mr Lee replied: "We reject your assertions and believe your media release is misleading to your members and to the general public.

"Southern Cross University will continue to conduct research without agenda."


Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Lismore has diversity Byron had and wants to keep it

(From left) Christopher Woodward, Shanon Robb, Lora-Jean Damen and Sabrina Major model the clothes for the new fashion event Threads which will take place at the Back Alley Gallery. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Low income earners need to be able to afford to remain in Lismore

Lismore Eisteddfod is in need of funds to secure its future

Rachel Beck  Photo Contributed

Search is on to find new patrons to save iconic event.

A bishop of balance built his flock

SADDENED: Service for Bishop Satterthwaite at Lismore Cathedral

Bishop Satterthwaite was given a warm farewell this week.

Latest deals and offers

Thankful for his life and impetus to become a champion

Kalon is grateful to the rescue helicopter paying a visit to the public school for making the Westpac service its charity of the month.

Lismore has diversity Byron had and wants to keep it

(From left) Christopher Woodward, Shanon Robb, Lora-Jean Damen and Sabrina Major model the clothes for the new fashion event Threads which will take place at the Back Alley Gallery. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Low income earners need to be able to afford to remain in Lismore

Lismore Eisteddfod is in need of funds to secure its future

Rachel Beck  Photo Contributed

Search is on to find new patrons to save iconic event.

A bishop of balance built his flock

SADDENED: Service for Bishop Satterthwaite at Lismore Cathedral

Bishop Satterthwaite was given a warm farewell this week.

South Lismore Primary’s Miss World hopeful says ‘she can’

SHE CAN: Miss World finalist Janaya Everingham outside her old primary school.

Lismore's Miss World Finalist makes it happen for Variety charity

BUDGET 2016: Tax cuts for firms pulling in up to $10m

Australian Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks at the despatch box during the delivery of the 2016-17 Federal Budget in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra,

It will cost the federal government $5.3 billion in lost revenue

Maudeville is back, brighter and shinier than ever

DIVA: Maude Boat as MC of the Cabaret Show at a previous Tropical Fruit’s New Year Eve Party in Lismore.

IN A city full of divas, only one reigns supreme: Maude Boate.

Blake Lively Film Shot on Gold Coast

Blake Lively in The Shallows.

New trailer for shark thriller The Shallows starring Blake Lively.

Dash Cam of Head-on Crash

Head-on crash after overtaking in fog.

Disaster as driver overtakes in fog at night.

Spirit of Tasmania Ferry in Rough Seas

Rough seas toss ferry around.

Passengers scream as ferry rides through high seas.

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog

VIDEO: Art Deco fan pays $835,000 for Imperial Hotel

No Caption

Iconic "Impy" sold at a bargan price to bidder who loves Art Deco.

RBA warns of future apartment oversupply

Toowoomba: Crest Apartments and Burke & Wills, Ruthven Street ( view from Neil Street) Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle

RBA says oversupply of apartments poses risk to household finances