As major parties address oil & gas giants summit, Greens call for Australia to sign global methane pledge


Greens Leader Adam Bandt says Australia must sign the Global Methane Pledge to phase out toxic methane gas, which is one of the fastest growing sources of Australia’s emissions due to oil and gas production.

Addressing the Greens national campaign launch on Monday night, Mr Bandt said he would push for a Labor government to sign the pledge before the next global climate conference in Cairo at the end of the year.

Mr Bandt will join a climate protest at the APPEA Oil and Gas conference in Brisbane on Tuesday. Liberal Resources Minister Keith Pitt and Labor Shadow Resources Minister Madeleine King will both give plenary addresses to the oil and gas giants at the conference this week.

The Global Methane Pledge was launched by President Biden at last year's Glasgow climate summit and already has 112 participant countries, including the United States, Canada, UK and the European Union. The pledge commits countries to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030, similar to the Montreal Protocol’s CFC pledge that saved the ozone layer.

Methane is a major cause of global warming. It is 86 times worse for the climate than CO2, and methane gas projects are Australia’s fastest growing source of emissions. 

Australia emits 4.5 million tonnes of methane each year, which given its higher warming potential makes up approximately a quarter of all of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Government’s own emissions projections, methane pollution is expected to decline by less than 1% between 2019 and 2030 under current policies.

Labor has walked back from outright opposition to signing the pledge if elected and will consult with ‘international counterparts and local stakeholders’ before making a decision.

The annual APPEA conference and expo is sponsored by the oil and gas giants Woodside and ExxonMobil and is the largest Australian gathering of oil and gas corporations from around the world.

The Liberals and Nationals have accepted at least $6.8 million in donations from the fossil fuel sector since 2012. Labor has accepted $4.9 million in the same period.

The Greens warn that if the Liberals and Nationals capitulate to their coal and gas donors, it will put a handbrake on global ambition. 

Lines from Adam Bandt MP, Leader of the Australian Greens:

“Gas is as dirty as coal and toxic methane is a climate bomb exploding in our backyard.”

“The United Kingdom, EU and the US are asking countries around the world to sign the Global Methane Pledge, but Liberal and Labor are giving them the middle finger.”

“Agricultural emissions are flatlining, but climate pollution from the gas industry is rising. Instead of sucking up to the oil and gas giants, Liberal and Labor should sign the Global Methane Pledge.”

“The Greens will push the next government to sign the methane pledge before the global climate summit in Cairo at the end of the year.”

“Australian voters want climate action, but instead Liberal and Labor are lighting the fuse on a giant climate bomb by fracking the Beetaloo basin in the Northern Territory and opening the giant Scarborough gas project, both against the wishes of First Nations people.

“The only way to get climate action is to kick the Liberals out and put the Greens in the balance of power, where we’ll push the next government to stop new coal and gas projects and sign the Global Methane Pledge.”