Narrabri Gas Project should be blocked, says ex-chief scientist

A worker inspecting a gas station.
10 August 2020

The proposed Narrabri gas project in the state's north-west is at odds with the nation's Paris climate commitments and the state government's goal of cutting emissions to net zero by 2050, said former chief scientist Penny Sackett.

The plan by Santos to drill 850 gas wells should be rejected, Professor Sackett said in a submission to the Independent Planning Commission.

The plan has won the backing of the NSW planning department and the federal government, while the current chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, has backed the expanded use of gas in the grid.

But speaking with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Professor Sackett, who works with the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute said that Australia and NSW - along with the rest of the world - were already emitting too much carbon to meet Paris targets of keeping warming to between 1.5 and well below 2 degrees celsius.

“So why would you be approving a new fossil fuel project with a life of 25 years?”

According to her submission to the planning commission, written on behalf of the NSW Environmental Defenders Office, the Narrabri Gas Project alone would burn through 11 per cent of the state's carbon budget if it is to do its part to meet Paris targets.

Read the full article on The Sydney Morning Herald website, featuring commentary by Prof Penny Sackett