Australia Is Massively Underreporting Its Coal Mine Emissions

"We’ve got a massive methane problem and it’s set to grow even worse."

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Methane emissions from Australian coal mines are reportedly twice as high as official estimates, according to a new independent report.

Climate group Lock the Gate Alliance commissioned international think tank Ember to re-examine data from six oversight groups, and found that levels of methane from coal mines will shatter Australia’s 2030 climate target of reducing emissions by 43 percent from 2005 levels.

The ‘Tackling Australia’s Coal Mine Methane‘ report, released on Wednesday, found that the methane leaking from Australia’s active and closed coal mines causes almost double the climate impact every year of all Australia’s cars combined.

It also reported findings from the International Energy Agency that Australia’s coal mines emitted nearly 2 million tonnes of methane last year — double the official reported figures — while independent satellites also revealed underreporting of emissions.

Methane is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, according to the ABC. Currently, Australia is the sixth-largest coal mine methane emitter and uses standardised emissions estimates based on the volume of coal produced, rather than traditional measurements.

“In Australia, methane from coal, oil, and gas extraction, production, and distribution is believed to be responsible for around 10 permissions of our total emissions — but this important research shows it’s likely to be far higher,” said climate campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, Suzanne Harter in a statement.

Lock the Gate is calling on the Albanese Government to sign the Global Methane Pledge and stop approving new and expanding coal mines. In Queensland and NSW alone, there are 68 planned coal mines in the works.

“We’ve got a massive methane problem and it’s set to grow even worse if Australia continues to pursue more coal and gas projects and fails to accurately measure, report, regulate, and reduce methane emissions from active and abandoned mines,” said Harter.