Spin at its best….

18 03 2014

frackingthefutureEvery day, I get updates from The Conversation in my email.  Today, a real corker everyone should read turned up titled “Three myths the coal seam gas industry wants you to believe”

We’ve all heard of spin, well this lot really has my head spinning…..!

Surely…. if the CSG industry really wants to be taken seriously, it would be beneficial to not exaggerate the economic benefits it believes it brings to the table, and downplay the very real dangers to human and environmental health.  How are they allowed to get away with such downright lies?

Here are the three myths…….

Myth 1: The gas industry is a big employer

The reality is that the CSG industry is currently so small that the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not publish separate employment figures for just CSG or for the gas industry as a whole. Rather, the ABS only publishes data on the combined size of employment in the oil and gas industries.

According to the ABS, in November last year the combined oil and gas industry employed 23,200 people. To put this in context, hardware chain Bunnings employs around 36,000 people.

Myth 2: More CSG will stop the gas price rises

One of the biggest claims that some CSG companies and peak body APPEA have been making is that an expansion in CSG extraction can stop gas prices from rising in the eastern parts of Australia.

This claim completely misrepresents why gas prices are rising. Put simply, because the world price of gas is much higher than the Australian domestic price, the gas industry would prefer to sell gas to foreigners than keep selling it to Australians.

Previously, they had no way of exporting Australian gas extracted on the east coast, but three big export facilities will soon be ready for business in Gladstone, Queensland. When these export facilities are completed, gas producers on the eastern side of Australia will have a choice. They can sell gas to domestic customers or to foreign customers. And they will pick which customers they sell to based on price, and if domestic gas consumers want natural gas they will have to be willing and able to pay the equivalent of the price the gas companies will receive from Asian customers. At the moment that is two to three times more than the recent wholesale price.

Myth 3: CSG can act as a low-emission “bridge” from coal to renewables

Electricity generated from burning natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than electricity produced from burning coal. For this reason the industry has claimed that natural gas can help reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

While it is true that when it is burnt for generating electricity natural gas does produce fewer emissions than burning coal,  but when CSG is extracted it leaks out of the ground, particularly when using hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”. These are known as fugitive emissions and are an extremely potent greenhouse gas, up to 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The amount of fugitive emissions that are produced during the CSG extraction process is currently unknown: no systematic study has been done in Australia. But in the United States, studies on shale gas – which like CSG is known as an unconventional source of natural gas – have found that fugitive emissions rates are substantially higher than conventional natural gas.

CSG is simply unsustainable, scraping the bottom of the virtual barrel in the face of Peak Oil…….  My sister in law and my brother both moved to Tasmania due to fracking making them sick with nose bleeds, nausea, muscular aches and pains….. which have all disappeared since they moved…. need I say more?



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