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Burning gas is inconsistent with science-based climate policy – David Shearman

The following article appeared in the website of Doctors for the Environment Australia on 27 March 2020.

The argument that liquefied natural gas (LNG) is good for Australia and good for the world cannot be substantiated by scientific or medical facts. Many studies confirm that the emissions profile of gas is little different to that of coal.

Let us be clear:

  1. LNG will do nothing to decrease the carbon footprint in Asian countries;
  2. it won’t help Australia reduce its domestic emission commitment to the Paris agreement;
  3. It is in no way a transition fuel for the electricity sector;
  4. The production of LNG in Australia is a health risk.

Health and water security concerns are stressful to residents in the vicinity of Queensland’s vast gas fields and also for those near the proposed Narrabri, Northern Territory and Western Australian developments.

As with coal, the health impacts of LNG become simple externalities ignored by governments for political  expediency. And the enthusiasm for LNG is often accompanied by policy barriers against renewable energy. State and federal health departments have been reluctant  to embark on health impact studies when their governments are besotted by gas development.

What can be done? Australia needs a climate change policy based on scientific facts, not on opinion.

Dr David Shearman is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Adelaide, is co-founder of Doctors for the Environment Australia, and is an ERA patron.

Read the full article which was published in Renew Economy on 20 March 2020

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