The gas industry is a very poor option for stimulus and recovery spending, as it provides few jobs, pays little tax and would lock in decades of high emissions and high energy prices.
That’s the crux of a new Australia Institute report, Gas-fired backfire, released jointly with the Australian Conservation Foundation.
The report finds:
“Claims that gas lowers emissions assume gas displaces coal, but new coal plants are no longer commercially viable and the federal government is opposing the closure of coal fired power plants, so more gas infrastructure would simply displace renewable energy and storage, not coal,” said ACF climate program manager Gavan McFadzean.
“Rather than prop up a dinosaur industry that drives climate change, Australia can and should choose a different path to re-build the economy and tackle the climate crisis.”
“Spending recovery funds on a capital intensive, jobs poor industry like gas completely defeats the purpose of a recovery program,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute.
“Australian governments continue to prop up the coal and natural gas sectors with fee waivers, fast-tracked projects and direct investments, but our research shows there are far more effective and affordable ways to stimulate the economy and create jobs.”
Energy Minister Angus Taylor has backed a ‘gas-fired recovery’ and the National Coronavirus Coordination Committee features gas mining and petrochemical executives who are urging more gas as a key to Australia’s recovery.
Read Gas-fired backfire
Read ACF’s agenda for Australia’s post-COVID recovery, Recover, Rebuild, Renew