Senate debates

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Questions without Notice

Gas Industry

2:18 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Trade) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the senator for her question about the role of gas exports in terms of Australia's emissions profile. It is correct, as Senator Waters indicates, that exports of gas and liquefaction of gas for export have contributed in that sector to an increase in Australia's emissions profile, while other areas—that I note Senator Waters doesn't talk about in terms of a reduction in our emissions across our own domestic energy consumption—lead ultimately to a net reduction. But let's deal particularly with the question Senator Waters raises about Australian export of gas to the rest of the world. Senator Cormann has outlined in answers recently the role that Australian coal can play relative to coal from other countries that is less efficient than Australian coal and creates more emissions when it is burned.

Gas of course plays an even bigger role in emissions reduction as a transition fuel in other countries. So the important role the LNG sector plays is not just as a contributor to Australia's exports but also as a fuel source for other nations, helping them to not only get the reliable energy and power that they need but also often as a substitute fuel source as their economies transition, sometimes transitioning away from coal, sometimes transitioning away from nuclear energy due to other factors, which I know the Greens also oppose.

The Greens are coming in here now criticising Australian gas exports as contributing to Australia's emissions but ignoring the fact that those same gas exports may well be reducing by a far greater sum the emissions profile of the countries that they're going to. This is the whole failure of the argument put by some others in this place.

Emissions are a global challenge. Australia plays its role but we also have to look at the global picture and, in this case, where we can provide more efficient sources of energy to other countries— (Time expired)

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