Activist holding banner pointing out climate change impact of shale oil project.
With the announcement today that QER was ending oil development
of the Stuart Shale near Gladstone, the Australian government must
now decide whether to give up entirely on the ill-fated
Greenpeace has been campaigning to stop the development of shale
oil, the most greenhouse intensive of all fossil fuels, since 1998.
We weren't alone. In a year 2000 editorial, New Scientist opined
"We face a switch either to clean energy sources or to fuels even
dirtier than today's, such as shale oil. It beggars belief that
anyone would choose the latter."
The Stuart Shale oil project in Australia has been controversial
since its inception over two decades ago. It has cost more than AU$
360 million, including tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers'
money. Even so, QER CEO Ross Dunning tried to make the best of the
closure by declaring the project a success: "Over the past several
years Stage 1 has produced over 1.5 million barrels of oil."
Eureka! It's feasible to produce oil from rocks at great
environmental expense and with devastating toxic side effects and
not be able to make a profit even with huge government
Shale oil should not be developed at any price. Oil from Stuart
would have had four times the greenhouse emission impact of oil
extracted from the ground.
In 2001, former partner Suncor pulled out of the Stuart project
amid concerns about its commercial viability and environmental
Queensland Energy Resources, a company that grew out of that
failure, said the project would wind down over the next few months,
a major victory for the tens of thousands of people who took action
with Greenpeace in opposing the Stuart Shale project, from our
global cyberactivists to the local residents who opposed it.
So lets let this be a lesson to other governments which think
they can develop oil at any cost, and to companies like Exxon which continue to fund
phony science and political lobbyists to convince us that
global warming is not a problem: we're not going to let you
Rather than propping up polluting industries such as shale oil,
governments should help develop clean, renewable energy and fuels
such as solar and wind power, and hydrogen fuel cells.
They should leave squeezing rocks to idiots.
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is at risk. In 2002 the reef
experienced its worst case of coral bleaching, with over 60 percent
As the climate heats up so do the oceans, causing the organisms
that give coral its colour and food to die.
The Australian government now faces a key decision on the reef's
future - accepting or rejecting the second stage of the Stuart
Shale Oil project near Gladstone.
The development of a shale oil industry would more than double
Australia's greenhouse emissions - increasing climate change. This
would be a disaster for the reef.
the Queensland government to abandon shale oil development