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Australia puts fossil fuel company at the center of Cop26 | Energy

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The Australian government has come under fire for prominently hosting a fossil fuel company in its pavilion during the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The condemnation came as the Morrison government confirmed it would not join around 90 countries in supporting the official launch of a global pledge to cut emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas leaked during gas and coal extraction and released by livestock – by 30% by 2030..

The Australian Pavilion at the Scottish Event Campus Exhibition Center was a hub of activity for the first two days of the summit. With limited numbers in the main plenary hall, Australians gathered to watch Scott Morrison’s speech at the conference on Monday.

Space in the pavilion has been dedicated to Australian companies, including Fortescue Future Industries of Andrew Forrest, which specializes in green hydrogen, Sun Cable, which plans to send solar energy captured in the Northern Territory to Singapore and Mineral Carbonation International. Beside them is the oil and gas giant Santos.

On Tuesday at the front of the pavilion there was a Santos demonstration of its Moomba carbon capture and storage project in the South Australia hinterland. Santos confirmed on Monday that the A $ 220 million development would continue after the government said it could receive carbon credit revenue from taxpayers through the Emissions Reduction Fund. Australian Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, joined Santos Managing Director Kevin Gallagher at the pavilion to make the announcement.

Why Australia is accused of cheating in climate talks - video
Why Australia is accused of cheating in climate talks – video

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is in Glasgow as chairman of Fortescue Future Industries, said it was “a pity” Australia did not buy into the pledge and “a joke” that Santos was placed first.

“Look at the Australian stand – you have a gas company highlighted apparently at the insistence of the Energy Minister, who thinks our energy policy should be geared towards burning gas,” Turnbull told reporters. “The goal is to stop burning fossil fuels.

“We need to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and CO2. We cannot continue to pretend that this is a problem that we can push into the future. We are now living with the reality of global warming.

Taylor spoke at the pavilion alongside the Santos chief at the launch of the government’s latest statement on low-emission technologies – an annual update of its technological approach to climate change. CCS is one of six priority technologies chosen for government support.

The minister said the development of the CSC from Santos to Moomba, which if successful will capture 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from 2024, was a “very elegant project” that would allow him to produce gas while reducing emissions. Taylor said that there are many different types of CCS, but that it was initially suitable for use in gas production sites and in the development of “blue” hydrogen using gas. Santos

“We can do the exact same thing at Moomba and other places in the production of hydrogen,” he said. “It’s not new, it’s very, very important, it’s going to be particularly important for the gas industry.”

Asked about the global methane pledge, he said Australia had not signed on because its goal was “whole economy, all gas”. “We do not set sector specific targets and we do not set gas specific targets,” he said.

Taylor claimed last week that signing the pledge would mean reducing the number of farm herds, and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the only way to keep it would be to “start shooting your cattle.” Bill Hare, chief executive of research firm Climate Analytics, said that was not correct.

The government’s net zero emissions plan for 2050 has been criticized for not including any new policies and relying on new technologies to reduce emissions in the 2030s and 1940s. Its support for CCS technology – to both by burying greenhouse gases from industrial sites miles underground and potentially using the captured carbon dioxide to make products – includes $ 250 million for a “CCS technologies and platforms” program.

Australian governments have committed around $ 4 billion in funding for CCS over time, but this has yet to prove commercially viable on a large scale. The country has an operating CCS plant at Chevron’s Gorgon gas development in Western Australia. It has suffered repeated delays and only captures part of the site’s emissions.

Greens for the environment spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young, who is also in Glasgow, said the Morrison government was spending the Cop26 “busy hanging out with fossil fuel executives and organizing public relations stunts to the gas industry “.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has said Australia is acting “shameless”. “Make no mistake, the Morrison government’s concern with CCS is to keep Australia’s coal and gas power system longer and delay the transition to renewables with storage,” said Gavan McFadzean, program manager. climate change from ACF.

Taylor said the government is backing renewables by adding “super low cost solar power” as a priority in the new technology statement, as noted last week when the government released its plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Further reducing the price of solar energy would be the key to large-scale hydrogen production from renewable energies, he said.

“We welcome all forms of clean hydrogen production – green, blue – they are important,” he said. “You will see the green grow rapidly over time, we certainly hope so. “