Activists Say Fracking In Queensland’s Lake Eyre Basin Will Create An Absolute “Carbon Bomb”

"If we are serious about net zero emissions by 2050, then it is criminally irresponsible for governments to be approving new fossil fuel projects."

Lake Eyre Basin

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Experts have condemned plans to develop a gas field in Queensland, saying it would spew out millions of tonnes of emissions if the fracking project by Origin Energy went ahead.

Analysis from Professor Ian Lowe at Griffith University on Thursday showed extracting petroleum resources from the Lake Eyre Basin rivers and floodplains in Channel Country would release extremely high levels of carbon dioxide, making the area some of the most polluting gas fields in the country. The production process would also lead to methane leakage.

“If we are serious about [Australia’s] net zero emissions by 2050, then it is criminally irresponsible for governments to be approving new fossil fuel projects,” said Professor Lowe.

In December, the Palaszczuk Government approved the oil and gas leases for more than 250,000 hectares of the Channel Country, despite their own scientists deeming the project as too risky a year and a half prior. They were accused of failing to honour a promise to consult Traditional Owners, and lying about receiving consent from a non-existent registered native title claim group, according to the ABC.

This is despite the state government’s target to reduce emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Lowe’s modelling showed that at a bare minimum, fracking in the basin would guarantee Queensland fails to meet this goal.

If the situation got to a ‘high development’ scenario, the project would release nearly 200 million tonnes of emissions per year, with an extra 100 million tonnes from the burning of gas alone. This is despite the entire nation’s annual domestic greenhouse gas emissions equating to 500 million tonnes all up.

“This report confirms what we have long suspected — fracking this unique and spectacular part of Queensland will release a carbon bomb at a time when the world desperately needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said activist and spokesperson Ellie Smith from Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland.

“It will threaten the Channel Country’s free-flowing desert rivers, which are among the last desert rivers not seriously compromised by human activity on the planet. It would be a travesty to allow thousands of fracking gas wells, roads and pipelines to destroy these floodplains in order to build the dirtiest, most polluting gas fields in Australia,” she said.