Woodside’s Scarborough LNG expansion will massively increase WA emissions in five years, jeopardising any serious 2030 climate target
Woodside’s proposed Scarborough to Pluto LNG project in Western Australia is a bet against the world implementing the Paris Agreement, will increase emissions globally, and will result in huge domestic emissions increases.
Woodside’s proposed Scarborough to Pluto LNG project in Western Australia is a bet against the world implementing the Paris Agreement, will increase emissions globally, and will result in huge domestic emissions increases, says a new report published today by Climate Analytics.
The report is the first analysis of the full impact on emissions of the entire Woodside Scarborough-Pluto project, and shows the company’s recent claims on emissions only cover a snapshot of the full picture.
By the late 2020’s Woodside’s Pluto expansion project, its linked domestic gas supply and co-related H2 Perth project will be emitting the equivalent of around 12% of WA’s 2005 emissions. It will also add more than 20% to Western Australia’s projected gas supply over the next decade.
“WA is one of only two Australian states without a 2030 climate target, and now the economy will have to work even harder to account for these extra emissions, because Woodside’s emission reduction plans are either hot air, or won’t happen for another 20 years,” said Bill Hare, Climate Analytics Senior Scientist and lead author of the report.
“The Western Australia government has agreed to Woodside’s Greenhouse Gas Abatement Plan [GGAP] without doing its homework, and appears to have accepted without question this huge new burden its economy will have to bear to meet any 2030 target it may come up with,” he said.
The report notes that a significant fraction of Woodside’s emissions reductions in its GGAP are “hot air” as they are taken from an 2006 emissions baseline derived from a bigger LNG production scale, which the company has scaled down by 15%, rendering a substantial part of the claimed reductions a nonsense.
“Woodside’s proposed emissions reductions are through offsets that are not guaranteed as being additional to business as usual, and the vast majority of them will not occur until after 2040, allowing Woodside to produce LNG from Scarborough, effectively unencumbered by any emissions reductions, for the majority of the gas field’s 30-year expected life,” said Hare.
Woodside has also not accounted for the expected globally rising price of carbon, and with it the costs of offsets that, by 2050, could involve costs in a range of 21-71% of export revenue. The company is also implicitly asking policymakers, the finance sector and governments to bet on a massive rollout of carbon capture and storage (CCS), an essentially unproven technology with a history of failures, cost overruns and major deployment delays.
Nor does Woodside’s emissions reduction plan account for the impact of substantial Scope 3 emissions (the emissions from export markets burning its product) on the demand for its exported LNG. The Scope 3 emissions are up to nine time larger than the emissions from the plant itself.
This new reports debunks Woodside incorrect claims this gas expansion is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5˚C goal and with the IEA’s Net Zero roadmap. Rather than decrease emissions, pushing greenhouse gas intensive LNG will slow down decarbonisation, and result in higher global emissions.
The report has estimated that total cumulative emissions from the project until 2055 are 1.37 billion tonnes, equivalent to 18 years of WA’s 2005 emissions, and 60% larger than the 878 MtCO2e Woodside itself has reported for the Scarborough project.
“The IEA has since released its Net Zero Emissions scenario which makes it abundantly clear that no new fossil fuel exploration should take place. This would, in our view, include the Scarborough Pluto project. This project is likely to slow down decarbonisation in major economies.”
Both IEA and Reserve Bank of Australia net zero scenarios indicate the strong potential for a collapse in Australia’s LNG market before 2030 as export countries like South Korea and Japan move to seriously implement the Paris Agreement and move to renewables and green hydrogen, reducing their LNG consumption – and right on cue – both countries have recently announced an intent to move away from LNG towards green hydrogen and renewables.
Lastly, the report points out that Woodside faces competition from other global LNG supplies with lower costs, and who are already investing in other emissions reduction measures. A softening, or even collapse in demand for LNG would rapidly exacerbate this risk, contributing to the Pluto-Scarborough Project becoming a stranded asset.
Carbon capture and storage could unleash 86 billion tonne carbon bomb
A new analysis finds reliance on carbon capture and storage could release an extra 86 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere between 2020 and 2050.
Projected warming almost unchanged for two years as governments push false solutions over climate action
Despite their promises, governments have not taken enough action to drive down warming projections, with some instead turning to false solutions such as carbon capture and storage to continue the world's reliance on fossil fuels, according to the Climate Action Tracker's annual warming update.
Oil and gas majors could have paid for their share of climate loss and damage and still earned 10 trillion USD: new report
Global climate damages from emissions associated with the top 25 oil and gas ‘carbon majors’ between 1985 and 2018 are estimated at 20 trillion USD compared to the 30 trillion USD they earned over the same period, according to a new report released today by international think tank Climate Analytics.
A 1.5˚C pathway for the Philippines power sector entirely feasible: analysis
With the right international funding and policies in place, the Philippines could transition its’ power sector to near-100% renewable energy without compromising on the costs of electricity, reducing its reliance on expensive imports of both coal and gas, and creating up to a million jobs by 2050.
State of Climate Action report finds progress lags on every measure except EV sales
Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator — except electric passenger car sales — lagging significantly behind the pace and scale that is necessary to address the climate crisis.
Governments plan to produce double the fossil fuels in 2030 than the 1.5°C warming limit allows
The Production Gap Report finds governments plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C.
Beetaloo fracking and Middle Arm emissions wildly underestimated: analysis
An independent analysis of the projected emissions from the Northern Territory's proposed Beetaloo Basin gas fracking project — and the associated Middle Arm LNG precinct in Darwin Harbour — has found they've been gravely underestimated, as have the availability of offsets to deal with them.
Comic artists respond to the climate crisis
Three leading comic creators have collaborated with the Horizon Europe project, CONSTRAIN, to develop comics exploring the climate change challenge.
Adelle Thomas elected as Vice-Chair of the IPCC's Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability group
Dr. Adelle Thomas elected as Vice-Chair of the IPCC's Working Group II contribution on on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability for the seventh assessment report cycle
Changes to the jet stream could trigger simultaneous crop failures impacting global food security
This new study finds that the jet stream – air currents in the upper atmosphere – can synchronise extreme weather caused by climate change, resulting in crop failures in multiple countries at the same time.