Morrison poster boy fossil fuel company increases emissions

Santos, one of the poster boys of the Morrison Government support (with your money) of fossil fuel companies, makes lots of claims about its climate and emissions reduction achievements.

But Santos’ 2022 Climate Change Report shows that despite claims about reducing emissions its emissions rose by 53% in 2020-21.

Bruce Robertson and Milad Mousavian write in an April 2022 Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis report: “A person reading the climate Change Report would have trouble finding this number as it’s buried in a table on page 54 of the report.”

They also note “a somewhat glaring omission for an annual climate report” – the failure to disclose the emissions up front in the Chair or CEOs messages.

“The long-term record is even worse. Over the past five years, Santos’s total emissions have risen by 94%, again a figure that is not readily ascertainable from the report.”

The authors point out that some Santos’s emissions growth has come because of acquisitions or merger in recent years but saying “acquisitions are a conscious decision of the board and management to allocate more capital to emissions intensive has an LPG. Every dollar spent on acquiring a competitor is a dollar not spent on low-emissions energy.”

The authors also point out that the Santos position is not unique in under-reporting emissions and that this is a systematic problem.

But Santos is also spending more than $US1.15 billion on new acquisitions – mostly on oil and gas growth projects.

The authors say Santos holds the largest number of offshore exploration permits as an operator, has the largest offshore exploration of any company and makes up a quarter of the total exploration spending to be spent in Australia between now and 2027.

“New developments are not consistent with net-zero emissions by 2050 targets as outlined by both the United Nations Production gap report and the International Energy Agency”, they say while also highlighting that new gas shields are “generally speaking higher emitting than older gas fields.”

It’s all OK according to Morrison and Santos because (with much help from taxpayers) it reduce emissions by carbon capture technology and blue hydrogen.

“Carbon capture has proven too technically difficult to implement, saving only fractions of the emissions initially promised” the authors say.

As for blue hydrogen (produced from natural gas using carbon capture and storage) Santos plans neglect “to mention that at current gas prices blue hydrogen is wholly uneconomic and its production results in higher emissions than just burning the gas.”

The company also promises more offsetting emissions by buying carbon credits although, according to the authors, and everyone outside the Morrison Government, “Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund has allowed the creation of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) that have highly questionable efficacy.”

They conclude: “Santos has historically grown its emissions at a rapid rate. Its expansion plans will ensure that this continues into the future. Reliance on carbon capture, a technology with high failure rates despites its long history, is a fig leaf to disguise rising emissions.”

….and also a figleaf to disguise Scott Morrison’s lack of a real climate plan.

This blog first appeared on The Truth and Integrity Project site The Truth and Integrity Project | Home