Gas, the kind that is sometimes used to cook or to generate electricity, is a fossil fuel mined deep underground.
Gas is primarily made up of methane and carbon dioxide molecules. We know that carbon emissions are damaging our climate, but methane emissions from fossil gas can be as much as 84 times more damaging than carbon emissions in a twenty year period.
Hang on, but then why is it called ‘natural gas’, or ‘liquefied natural gas’?
We wouldn’t call coal ‘natural’ – and we shouldn’t call gas ‘natural’ either.
These are slogans used by big oil and gas companies to hide the fact that gas is a fossil fuel.
Gas from Scarborough will be drilled from the seafloor, piped thousands of kilometres to a polluting processing plant, where this ‘natural’ gas is then unnaturally cooled to -162 degrees C into a liquid. The gas is then loaded onto enormous tankers before it gets sent off to be burned up around the world.
It’s not as safe as it seems
Some houses have gas cooktops and heaters or fireplaces, and some schools even have unflued gas heaters. But while we’re told gas is ‘safe and clean’, recent studies have shown that gas is likely responsible for more than 1 in 10 cases of childhood asthma.
Additionally, people who live near gas developments are more likely to be hospitalised for tumours, as well as blood and immune diseases.
Doesn’t more gas mean cheaper bills?
No. The gas produced by Scarborough is planned to be sent mostly offshore, with the big exception of Perdaman’s polluting fertiliser plant.
In fact the majority of gas mined in Australia gets put straight on ships, and sent to other countries.
Woodside will make a lot of money from Scarborough at the cost of endangering Western Australia’s natural environment and accelerating irreversible climate change.
Don’t we need gas?
There are plenty of clean alternatives to gas.
In the home, newer induction cooktops are equally as effective as gas ones. They heat up and cool down faster than gas stoves and they don’t release particulates and pollution into the home.
Equally, electrical water heaters cost less to install and run than older gas technology and produce no carbon emissions while they are in use.
In terms of energy generation, the increasing effectiveness of battery technology and Australia’s huge renewable resources mean wind, solar and hydro power are more than capable of taking over for dirty gas fired power.