STATEMENT: Zali Steggall calls on government to enact CCA's methane recommendations

21 December 2023

Zali Steggall calls on government to enact CCA’s recommendations and stop stabbing in the dark when it comes to methane 

Australia has a methane problem. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas and causes more than 80 times more warming than carbon dioxide per unit released over the first two-decade period. The International Energy Agency has estimated that Australia could be underreporting its emissions by up to 60% as a result of our inadequate assessment of methane. 

In its report now released into the review of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Scheme, the Climate Change Authority (CCA) makes 25 recommendations and calls for comprehensive reforms of how fossil fuel companies in Australia report their greenhouse gas emissions, with a clear focus on how to improve transparency around the data, reporting and the abatement of methane. The Albanese Government must act on methane. 

After recently hosting The Superpower Institute's National Emissions Monitoring Roadmap in parliament, I strongly urge the Government to prioritise the $60 million investment needed for this in the May 2024 Budget and implement all 25 recommendations or Australia will be exposed to the world as failing to properly measure and reduce its emissions. As Rod Sims AC said, “If we don’t measure, we don’t reduce and we will be exposed to the world. We are in the dark.” 

In 2019, coal mines released 68% of Australia’s methane emissions from the energy industry overall. The IEA estimated that Australian coal mines emitted 1.8 million tonnes of methane in 2021, double the officially reported figures.  

I have been calling on the Australian government to urgently address methane emissions by requiring actual source measurement and data collection, supported by robust methodologies, together with the setting of clear reduction targets and the banning of venting and flaring of methane.  

Earlier this year, I moved amendments to the Safeguard Mechanism to that effect, to fully account for methane emissions and accelerate reductions. Whilst not supported by the Government, Minister Bowen undertook to fully implement as soon as possible in 2024 the recommendations of the review. Now the recommendations are in, it’s time to act.