A Deadly Gas Grab

Jun 5, 2021

To mark World Environment Day 2021, we’re challenging one of Australia’s most polluting proposals – BHP & Woodside’s Scarborough LNG project.

Seriously dodgy carbon accounting practices are enabling fossil fuel companies to exempt emissions from projects that they are heavily invested in.

Obviously, the quickest, safest way to confront the climate emergency is to keep all fossil fuels in the ground.

The below message was sent to WA Ministers Roger Cook and Amber-Jade Sanderson, as well as the Chairs and CEOs of BHP and Woodside.

Dear Ministers,

Further to telephone calls to your offices, we are pleased to put our concerns about the proposed Scarborough LNG project in writing for you.

As it is your job to safeguard the long term health and wellbeing of your community, it is reasonable to assume that you accept that decisions should be based on the best available science, facts, data and evidence.

The extreme local and global threats from rising greenhouse gas emissions fueling the climate crisis are obviously well understood. In fact the deadly consequences of extracting and burning fossil fuels were well understood by fossil fuel companies back in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, you may also be aware of last week’s landmark Federal Court judgement establishing a new duty of care under the law.

This moving paragraph from the written judgement pretty much says it all:

It is difficult to characterise in a single phrase the devastation that the plausible evidence presented in this proceeding forecasts for the children. As Australian adults know their country, Australia will be lost and the world as we know it gone as well. 

The physical environment will be harsher, far more extreme and devastatingly brutal when angry. As for the human experience – quality of life, opportunities to partake in nature’s treasures, the capacity to grow and prosper – all will be greatly diminished. 

Lives will be cut short. Trauma will be far more common and good health harder to hold and maintain. 

None of this will be the fault of nature itself. It will largely be inflicted by the inaction of this generation of adults, in what might fairly be described as the greatest inter-generational injustice ever inflicted by one generation of humans upon the next. To say that the children are vulnerable is to understate their predicament.

At every level and by every measure, the Scarborough LNG project is a full blown assault on local and global communities.

It appears that neither the obscene levels of greenhouse gas pollution, nor the impacts on invaluable local rock art from acid rain, from this proposed ecocidal project have been subject to proper assessment.

And to be clear, the proponents* of this appalling project are extremely wealthy companies with phenomenal capacities to work with local communities to rapidly transition Australia’s energy systems, as well as to establish global exports of zero emission energy in the form of green (that is fully renewable energy powered) hydrogen.

It is beyond fathomable that the fossil fuel industry is still allowed to make massive profits from owning and controlling access to energy sources that threaten all life, let alone to attract billions in public subsidies.

For the sake of everything, please outright reject the Scarborough LNG project and establish policies to ensure that communities are safeguarded against all such ecocidal proposals in the future.

Yours faithfully,

The Climate Guardians

* note that the Chairs and CEOs of both companies have been ccd.