Australia Underestimates Methane Emissions by Wide Margin

Friends of the Earth Australia

New study sheds light on wrong measurements

A slew of unmeasured methane leaks from platforms and pipelines off Australia’s coast have released large amounts of the dangerous greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, but we will never know exactly how much, and it will certainly not be included in Australia’s emissions calculations.

Methane, which is otherwise known euphemistically as “natural gas,” is almost 90 times worse than carbon dioxide for global warming.

The most recent case was at Santos’ John Brookes platform off Karratha, which was shut down by the industry regulator after a dangerous methane leak.

Now a new study from Princeton University and Colorado State University has shown that current methods for estimating methane emissions from offshore oil and gas production severely underestimate gas released by the offshore fossil fuel industry.

Using the UK as a case study, the research points to the disturbing likelihood that our greenhouse gas emissions from offshore gas and oil are wildly underestimated.

“Australia and the UK measure methane emissions in a similar way,” Friends of the Earth Australia’s Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner, Jeff Waters, said.

“This US study should ring very loud alarm bells here in Australia as well,” he said.

“The way we measure methane emissions has to change if we are to get a realistic picture of how much we are polluting the atmosphere.”

“Australians can often be heard saying that our contribution to global warming is tiny because of our relatively small population, but how would the figures look if we added this methane leakage to our figures?” Jeff Waters asked.

“Nobody measures the offshore gas leaks from Australia; nobody measures the methane lost from regular venting.”

“Governments need to heed this warning and start measuring our emissions more adequately, and someone — anyone — needs to stop the industry from flagrantly polluting our air with their venting, flaring, and worst of all, their leaks,” he said.

Key Facts:

New study shows methane pollution wildly underestimated

Australian methane leaks not measured

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