Impacts of waste-carbon at Ninety Mile Beach

In South Gippsland located on the long, idyllic stretch of sand known as Ninety Mile Beach. Ninety Mile Beach borders Bass Strait, and you can often see whales, dolphins, seals, and turtles from the shore. It is also home to a variety of fish and birdlife, as well as a variety of invertebrates and onshore coastal vegetation.

Right now, government run and funded CarbonNet wants to build a waste-carbon injection and storage facility (a technology labelled 'carbon capture and storage' by advocates) just 7 kilometers off away from the coastal town of Golden Beach. Still in its testing stage, this project has already involved damaging seismic testing offshore, which impacted the Golden Beach community and local sealife.

Call on Premier Andrews to keep Ninety Mile Beach waste-carbon free.

So far the project has consumed $100 million in public money, and will require even more funding to build the sequestration machinery if it proceeds to the next stage. Then the project, set up with public money, would be transferred to private ownership.

Australia wide carbon capture and storage technology has failed to reach commercial scale despite heavy investment from the government. A prominent example of a unsuccessful waste-carbon storage project is Chevron Australia’s Gorgon Project. With $60 million public money this project was supposed to begin in 2016 but is yet to capture and store any carbon. Energy consultants estimate that by March 2019 the equivalent of 6.2 million tonnes of CO2 that was supposed to be captured will not have been.

The Golden Beach waste-carbon project is also being promoted as a climate solution to reduce Victoria’s climate footprint, however it would not reduce Victoria’s current CO2 emissions. This is because the waste-carbon project is both reliant on unproven technology, and it is attached to the new proposed brown coal-to-hydrogen plant in the Latrobe Valley, with the hydrogen intended to be exported to Japan. None of the emissions from Victoria’s electricity system would be captured.

The uncertainty surrounding the impacts of waste-carbon injection and storage on local communities and the environment and the lack of benefit to the climate mean there is no case for using public money to fund this.

We are calling on Premier Daniel Andrews to commit to no more public money going to the Golden Beach waste-carbon injection and storage, on the grounds that it does not have social license and there are too many risks to the community associated with the project. We need to invest in real climate solutions for Victorian communities that provide long term, sustainable jobs without endangering communities or the environment.

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