The Andrews Labor Government has released five new oil and gas exploration blocks in the offshore Otway Basin in state waters, extending from Port Campbell to the South Australian border. They are part of the national 2018 Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release. Tenders for companies to apply are currently open and will close on February 15, 2019.
Climate science makes it abundantly clear that time is running out if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Research compiled by University College, London, shows that to have just a 50:50 chance of preventing a 2°C rise in global temperature, 88% of global coal reserves, 52% of gas reserves and 35% of oil reserves are un-burnable and must be left in the ground.
A 2°C rise in temperature has long been considered a threshold that should not be crossed given the potential for catastrophic consequences.
Some sources say we have already passed the climate change ‘tipping point’ and that there is no carbon budget left for any new fossil fuel development.
Through the Climate Change Act 2017, the Victorian government is committed to a long-term emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050. This means that overall emissions must be brought down, year on year, and no major new sources of emissions should be brought on-line.
Accordingly, opening up new oil and gas production would be at odds with the Act, and could influence the emission reduction targets that need to be set for 2025 and 2030.
The government should cancel the tender process that is currently open for offshore oil and gas exploration in the Otway Basin in western Victoria.
The state government says that “many Victorian homes and businesses rely on gas and we support new exploration and development of our vast offshore gas resources to ensure long-term supply”. A better option would be to support households and business to energy shift to use renewable energy and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
The time for new fossil fuel is over. It’s time to back the transition to 100% renewables.