Clash over emissions
CAMDEN SMITH
GOVERNMENT and environmentalists have clashed on the day an announcement was made on a new partnership to fast track emission reductions across Northern Australia.

The agreement will see key energy companies with a stake in the Northern Territory, including Inpex, Santos, ENI, Woodside, Xodus Group and Origin Energy, develop a joint business case to assess the viability of a large-scale, low emission carbon capture and utilisation and storage hub at Middle Arm.

Government and industry want the hub to create a long-term, more sustainable solution to storing carbon across Northern Australia.

But NT Environment Centre claims the Territory is on track to be the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases if the Beetaloo Basin project goes ahead.

Figures released by the Climate Council show if fracking goes ahead in the Beetaloo Basin, the Territory will become the single greatest emitter of greenhouse gases on a per capita basis in the world.

Environment Centre energy campaigner Jason Fowler says this is not a title Territorians want.

“We are already seeing catastrophic impacts from climate change. Darwin could see an increase in hot days over 35C from 11 to 265 by 2090,” Mr Fowler said. “Combined with high humidity, this is a tipping point and could make the Territory uninhabitable.”

Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison said the Pepper Inquiry had outlined ways to minimise the impacts of fracking on Beetaloo Basin.

“We are working through those important recommendations about how we deal with those issues around carbon and emissions,” Ms Manison said. “It’s really important to note that a big topic of discussion at the SEAOC conference is carbon capture and storage, and that it is the gas companies that are front and centre. They are deeply committed to their obligation around net zero emissions.

“I believe we can develop an onshore gas industry while also meeting our obligations when it comes to net zero emissions.”

Fracking and onshore gas have been issues at Territory elections from 2016.

During a presentation to the SEAOC conference on Wednesday Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade chief executive Shaun Drabsch said only one anti-fracking candidate, Araluen MLA Robyn Lambley, had won office on that platform.