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Old parties vote to cover up coal seam gas emissions

A Government-commissioned study into the climate impacts of coal seam gas remains secret, after the Labor, Liberal and National parties today voted down a Greens motion to make the Wilkenfeld study public.

“The coal seam gas industry’s claims to be more climate-friendly than coal are being increasingly challenged by overseas scientific evidence, which is why we need Australian independent science into the real climate impacts of CSG,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.

“It is appalling that Labor, Liberals and even the Nationals – who still claim to support farmers in their struggle against CSG – have voted to keep themselves and the Australian public in the dark, and would rather swallow industry spin about CSG emissions.

“Is this an admission that they know coal seam gas is just as dirty as other fossil fuels because of the fugitive methane emissions escaping from leaky well heads, as is the case with leaking shale gas wells in the USA?

“While Australians are calling for the truth about the long-term dangers of CSG, the old parties are choosing to wilfully ignore the whole picture of coal seam gas mining and the cost to our climate, our environment and our communities.”

The motion by Senator Christine Milne reads as follows;

To move—That the Senate—
(a) notes:
(i) that there is uncertainty about the level of leakage, flaring and venting of methane during coal seam gas prospecting, extraction, transport and processing, and
(ii) an accurate measurement of these ‘fugitive’ emissions is necessary to assess the claims of the coal seam gas industry that electricity production fuelled by coal seam gas is substantially less emission intensive than electricity production fuelled by coal; and
(b) orders that there be laid on the table, by 22 March 2012, the study by George Wilkenfeld and Associates Pty Ltd titled Updated scope 3 emissions factors for natural gas consumed in Australia, based on NGERS data, redacting where necessary any aspects of the study that are commercially sensitive.

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