Climate Change & Unconventional Gas

Ice Cores and Keeling Curve
Ice Cores and Keeling Curve

Brief Address to the East Gippsland Shire Council 5 April

I want to speak to you solely on the matter of Climate Change and Unconventional Gas.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe in climate change or not. The greenhouse effect is basic physics, like gravity. Greenhouse gases help retain heat on our planet. Without greenhouse gases our earth would be 30 degrees colder – like Mars. Since the industrial revolution man has been adding a greenhouse gas – carbon dioxide – to the atmosphere at increasing rates and the earth is getting measurably warmer. 2014 was the warmest year on record, 2015 then became the warmest year and 2016 already looks like breaking last year’s record.

Unconventional gas is Methane and is initially 30 to 100 times a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  In the USA there has been considerable methane leakage measured in the drilling process, from wells and pipes. Also black carbon – another warming product – is produced when gas is flared to the atmosphere. Professor Tony Ingraffea of Cornell University has suggested exploiting unconventional gas may produce more warming than coal! See here and here.

Personally I would have preferred council to issue a simple ban on unconventional gas. But in lieu of this I urge you to support and pass Cr Rowe’s motion. When greenhouse gases were previously as high as they are now the earth was 2 degrees warmer, sea levels were 20 metres higher and there were no human beings in existence.

(Note There were 6 other speaker from the floor all supporting Cr Rowe’s motion – effectively a ban – which was passed unanimously)