After years of calling for independent measurement of how much gas leaks to the atmosphere from coal seam gas fields, and following the Government's refusal to include climate impacts in the work plan of the independent expert panel on coal seam gas, the Greens are today writing to the Prime Minister and Minister for Climate Change calling on them to immediately fund a full field study.
With the release overnight of a study by scientists from Southern Cross University showing methane concentrations more than three times the background level in gas fields around Tara in Queensland, a full Government-funded independent study is vital to determine whether CSG is being treated appropriately in official greenhouse gas emissions inventories.
"The gas industry has been hiding behind its claim to be better for the climate than coal for years, and the Government has just accepted those claims despite the Greens, farmers and scientists providing evidence that they are deceptive," Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"We have to have a full, independent field study to measure how much gas is leaking across Australian fields and I am today writing to the Prime Minister and Minster for Climate Change calling on them to fund such a study.
"It makes no sense to develop a new fossil fuel industry at the end of the fossil fuel age, particularly when it is compromising food growing land and risking aquifers
"I think the Government has been shielding another fossil fuel industry, wanting to maximise the coal and gas they can get out of the ground as fast as possible, no questions asked. It's time for that to end."
"The coal seam gas industry has been given the green light to race ahead before the science has been done - this is why the Greens have proposed a moratorium on further CSG approvals until qualitative research has been completed," Senator Larissa Waters said.
"We also proposed amendments so that the independent scientific expert committee on CSG would be able to ascertain the true emissions intensity of CSG operations in Australia, but Labor, the Liberals and Nationals instead voted to keep this committee toothless.
"This study is evidence that the old parties have completely misjudged the true dangers of this industry and let it run rampant over our farmland and farming communities - we urgently need to know the long-term impacts of this dangerous fossil fuel before we sacrifice any more of our land and precious water resources."