The former head of the CSIRO's atmospheric research team and a former premier are among a group of more than 50 experts urging the Western Australian government to permanently ban fracking in the state.
Graeme Pearman and Carmen Lawrence visited WA’s state parliament in Perth on Tuesday morning to call for the ban on fracking, with an open letter that also includes support from 2003 Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley and Climate Council chief Tim Flannery.
The group penned the letter as they await the release of the final report by the WA Independent Scientific Panel Inquiry into fracking.
The WA Labor government called for the inquiry to decide on the future of the method after placing a moratorium on it throughout the state, as well as banning onshore gas fracking in the Perth, South West and Peel regions.
The group of experts has grown from more than 30 scientists co-ordinated by the left-leaning Australia Institute who also urged the Northern Territory government to ban fracking.
Former CSIRO atmospheric research head Graeme Pearman says WA is facing severe dry conditions with increasing fire seasons and heat waves as a result of global warming.
“Within our children’s lifetime, we are facing potential temperature rises of up to 6.5 degrees, with largely irreversible impacts on water supply, coastal flooding, crop and grazing production, human health and biodiversity,” Professor Pearman said.
The Institute for Financial and Energy Analysis’ Bruce Robertson says fracking in the state will drive up domestic gas prices to above global parity prices, as has happened in the eastern states.
However, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association says natural gas is essential for secure electricity supply, with half of the state’s electricity generated by the resource.
“Developing local gas supplies underpins thousands of jobs across the manufacturing and resources sectors,” director Matthew Doman said in a statement.
“Experience in countries such as the US shows that the most significant opportunity available today to curb emissions is replacing coal-fired power with gas-fired generation.”