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Analysis and Comment (31)

Australia’s official forecasts for expanding fossil fuel exports don’t match up with what’s needed to avoid severe climate change. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr

Australia’s coal and gas exports are being left stranded

In the last week the US and China announced goals to reduce emissions by 26-28% and cap emissions by 2030 respectively. India also signalled its aim to end coal imports within 2-3 years. These are telling…
A coal seam gas field in New South Wales. The independent review concludes health impacts can be regulated; experts say otherwise. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr

Chief Scientist CSG report leaves health concerns unanswered

The long-awaited independent review of coal seam gas (CSG) in New South Wales, released last week by the NSW Chief Scientist, highlighted many risks and uncertainties around human health from exposure…
The government’s energy green paper is seeking reform on electricity prices and gas supply; but avoids climate change. Rae Allen/Flickr

Energy green paper scores ‘pass’ on electricity, ‘fail’ on climate

The Energy Green Paper 2014 released this week by federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane provides more clear direction and coverage of critical policy issues than did its 2012 predecessor. However, while…
The methane-detecting four-wheel-drive, measuring emissions around Queensland and NSW coal seam gas wells. Tests were also done upwind of each site to avoid cows or other methane sources skewing the results. CSIRO

Coal seam gas emissions lower than US: first Australian study

One of the most common questions Australians ask about coal seam gas is whether the gas wells leak – and if so, how much? In the first Australian study of its kind, new CSIRO research now gives an indication…
A coal seam gas pilot well from the Santos Narrabri Gas Project in New South Wales, which has divided opinion in the local community. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

The challenge of sorting fact from fiction on coal seam gas

Can you match the following three statements with the answers just below? Coal seam gas is bad for the environment and we should all protest against its use. Genetically modified foods are a part of multinational…
Don’t let gas price flare ups catch you by surprise: there are better ways to save your money and energy. Ben Jenkins/Flickr

Don’t get burnt by gas price rises: tips for homes and industry

Gas prices are on the rise, starting tomorrow with a 17.8% increase this year in New South Wales, with other parts of eastern Australia expected to follow in coming years. That means it’s a crucial time…
Installations of the main natural gas pipeline in the Boyarka village near Kiev. Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

Russia’s game of chicken with Ukraine leaves Europe on the edge

As with the previous Russia-Ukraine gas disputes in 2006 and 2009, how we describe the current stand-off between the two countries is a matter of semantics. Those earlier disputes found solutions based…
About 40% of people produce smelly gas because of a certain bacteria in their bowels. HyoJung Kim

Health Check: the ins and outs of burping and farting

To understand why we fart, you need to know something about the volume of gases produced in the bowels first. Imagine how much space 25 litres of gas would occupy – about one third of the interior of a…
Australia has a possible path to 100% renewables – if governments and business can be persuaded to take it. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Renewable energy target can go all the way to 100% – if we let it

The political outlook for renewable energy is not great – and I’m not just talking about the view out of Joe Hockey’s car window. The Renewable Energy Target (RET), which aims to deliver 41 million megawatt-hours…
Assembling the Nord Stream in 2011. Bair175

Russia, Ukraine, and Europe are tied by gas dependency

The German energy giant RWE has begun to “reverse flow” supplies of gas from Europe back to Ukraine via Poland, a process first arranged in 2012, with an agreement to deliver up to 10 billion cubic metres…
Eastern Europe relies on the network of gas pipelines that runs from Russia through Ukraine and Belarus. EPA/Eustream/AAP

Will the Ukraine crisis open up a new gas market for Australia?

The ongoing standoff between Russia and Ukraine has exacerbated Europe’s vulnerability caused by its reliance on Russian gas. The situation has locked the two nations into a dispute over paying for gas…
New South Wales’s Appin power plant runs on coal seam gas. Bluedawe/Wikimedia Commons

Three myths the coal seam gas industry wants you to believe

Coal seam gas has an image problem, as a former Santos chairman and others in the industry have acknowledged. The way the industry extracts natural gas from deep underground coal seams, both here and overseas…
There’s more oil down there, and it’s the regulator’s job to make sure it comes up. AP/PA

Compel firms to extract North Sea oil in the nation’s interest

For decades the UK has been accustomed to filling its coffers with the bounty from North Sea oil and gas, and the jobs and tax receipts it has brought. At one time exports helped balance the books and…
New South Wales needs to consider all the options to avoid a gas crisis. Flickr/mikeyp2000

Is New South Wales really facing a gas crisis?

The NSW Energy Security Summit being held in Sydney this week looks like turning into a debate on the relative economic and environmental credentials of coal seam gas, while at the same time exposing a…
The Greens' leader Christine Milne speaking at the National Press Club, 4 September. AAP Image/Penny Bradfield

FactCheck: does Australia have a gas supply crisis?

“I’ve yet to see any evidence that we have a [gas] supply crisis in Australia at all.” – Australian Greens' leader Christine Milne, Fairfax Google+ hangout, 26 August. The Greens' leader Christine Milne…
The single well drilled in Balcombe caused more protest than thousands drilled in the US. Gareth Fuller/PA

As US shale industry falters, a UK fracking boom is unlikely

While the discovery of what appear to be substantial gas resources under UK soil is an intriguing opportunity for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the country’s energy companies, lessons…
New technology will allow extracted gas to be processed, liquefied and stored on a floating facility, opening up access to remote offshore resources. Flickr/kenhodge

Explainer: what is floating liquefied natural gas?

Natural gas has been extracted from Australia’s North West Shelf and exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG) for almost 30 years. It is Australia’s fastest growing resource export. But the recent introduction…
As LNG prices rise towards export parity, there have been calls from energy groups to implement a gas reservation scheme. One Ten

A gas reservation scheme is protectionism in disguise

Queensland is poised to become a major export hub for liquefied natural gas (LNG). Given the West Australian experience, where LNG is already exported to Asia, this will cause domestic gas prices to rise…
Shell’s $12-billion Prelude project is likely to be the world’s first floating LNG facility. Shell

Floating LNG: an alternative future for gas?

Governments and the energy sector are faced with the competing demands of increasing energy requirements of an increasingly wealthy population and the environmental need to mitigate carbon emissions. Anne…
Iran’s gas could make a difference to the world’s carbon-reduction efforts, if only the world was allowed to use it. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

US–Iran normalisation could fight climate change

The problem of climate change policy at an international level is not only about reaching agreement on sharing the mitigation burden. It is also about how dysfunctional foreign policies - not directly…
Coal’s heyday is coming to a close, but is gas a long-term solution? Guy Gorek

The future of gas power: stepping-stone or snare?

The past few years have seen the rapid expansion of the coal seam and shale gas industry. Combine this expansion with the recent introduction of a price on carbon here in Australia, and you end up with…
If we’re going to talk about how safe CSG is (or isn’t), we need to look at the full picture. AAP/Origin Energy

Coal gas seams good … until you measure the methane

The Mineral Resources Rent Tax passed through the House of Representatives last week, but not without negotiations with the Greens and independent MPs. Perhaps the most significant outcome of negotiations…
There are several options for future energy generation. We just need to get there. waldopepper

Stepping stones: the slippery path to a clean energy future

In news today, the Greens are calling for an end to federal funding for a proposed coal- and gas-fuelled power plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. Others have suggested the plant provides a source of “transition…

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