How climate pollution from Woodside’s new Burrup Hub gas expansion eclipses other countries’ emissions and Australia’s climate action plan.

Burning coal and gas is wreaking havoc on our climate, fuelling more extreme bushfires, floods, cyclones, heatwaves and droughts. While the world moves to drastically reduce climate pollution, Woodside Energy, one of Australia’s biggest polluters is dangerously expanding fossil gas production.

Woodside’s plans to expand the Burrup Hub would make it the largest new carbon bomb in the South Hemisphere and in the top ten most polluting fossil fuel developments in the world.

A carbon bomb is a fossil fuel project that will produce over one billion tonnes of carbon pollution, and Woodside wants to build one in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

This proposed expansion is a climate disaster in the making, and a complete contradiction to Woodside’s net-zero pledge.

To put this project into perspective, we analysed the lifetime carbon pollution from this project in an international context and the results are startling.

What would the impact of the Burrup Hub gas expansion be?

Over its lifetime, greenhouse gas emissions from the Burrup hub gas expansion would be:

  • Greater than the annual emissions from all sources in the United States, and 13 times greater than Australia’s total annual emissions from all sources.
  • 14 times the annual emissions from the United Kingdom and over 73 times the annual emissions from New Zealand.
  • As much carbon pollution as driving every car, truck, bus and boat in Australia for over 65 years.

The consequences of this project are global, and the Burrup Hub would place Australia in the company of countries that are undermining global action on climate change. The only countries hosting more polluting oil and gas facilities than the Burrup Hub are Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Recently, we unpacked Woodside’s net-zero pledge, comparing their aspirations to a robust net-zero strategy, and they didn’t perform well, with Woodside ignoring a staggering 92% of its total climate impact.

Instead of phasing out fossil fuel production, Woodside are doubling down by expanding projects that are driving climate change and extreme weather events such as wildfires, floods, heatwaves, droughts and cyclones.

Impact on Australia’s current net-zero goals

The lifetime pollution of the Burrup Hub gas expansion would be larger than the combined emissions savings expected from all Australian climate policies and measures between now and 2030. For every tonne of carbon pollution that will be reduced through climate policies and measures in that time, more than 6.3 tonnes of pollution would be released by the Burrup Hub gas expansion over its lifetime.

Lifetime pollution from the Burrup Hub would also cancel the entire cumulative savings from all household solar systems currently installed in Australia for over 344 years. That is every effort you, your family, colleagues, and the community take every day, wiped out by one massive fossil fuel project.

With all of this in mind, you would think this project would be being heavily scrutinised for its potential impacts on climate… but you’d be wrong. Despite the staggering amount of pollution that will result, to date there has been no comprehensive assessment of the impact of these developments on climate, or on Australia’s national emissions reduction goals.

The Australian Government is currently considering key approval decisions for this project. We can’t let Woodside push on with their polluting new projects that destroy nature every step of the way and derail our vibrant, renewable powered future.

What can be done?

Woodside’s Burrup gas expansion plans currently hinge on approval from Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek. She has the power to reject Browse gas and the North West Shelf expansion, both major components of the Burrup gas project.

We must urge Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to reject these climate wrecking plans which pose a huge threat to nature in WA and beyond.

Woodside’s mega fossil gas expansion must be stopped to protect our coastal ecosystems and the climate. 

Sign our pre-written open letter to Tanya Plibersek today.

Read the full report and analysis here

Elizabeth Sullivan

Climate Campaigner – Exports