Controversial science: coal seam gas


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Controversial science: coal seam gas

  1. 1. What’s so bad about (coal seam) gas?<br />WRIT 7220: Controversial Science<br />
  2. 2. Outline<br />What is coal seam gas (CSG)?<br />Timeline of the controversy<br />Controversial viewpoints<br />Main themes / discussion<br />
  3. 3. What is CSG?<br />Primarily methane<br />Occurs naturally in coal beds<br />Burns cleanly (few NOx or SOx)<br />Equivalent to ‘natural gas’<br />Sometimes vented to atmosphere in coal mines<br />
  4. 4. What is CSG?<br />CSG held by water pressure<br />Water / CSG mix pumped out and separated<br />May require hydraulic fracturing<br />Various options for water<br />
  5. 5. Timeline of a controversy<br />ClimateSmart 2050: 15% from gas by 2010, then 18% by 2020<br />QLD gas scheme: 13% from gas by 2005<br />Queensland Petroleum: wells drilled 2009-2010<br />[source: Queensland’s Petroleum, Queensland Government, February 2011]<br />
  6. 6. Timeline of a controversy<br />Fox doesn’t have the science chops required to explicate the fracking process accessibly, and too many animated illustrations whiz by in a nebulous froth of blinking maps and lists of presumably toxic substances<br />
  7. 7. Timeline of a controversy<br />
  8. 8. Timeline of a controversy<br />
  9. 9. Timeline of a controversy<br />Gasland released<br />I start blogging about CSG ...<br />
  10. 10. One topic, many views: farmers<br />Farming land is being taken over by CSG mining<br />Fraccing could poison the groundwater<br />Farmers have no rights on their own land<br />
  11. 11. One topic, many views: politicians<br />The resources boom creates jobs and is good for the economy<br />Regulations are in place to prevent, monitor and rectify impacts<br />CSG is a bridging fuel to cleaner energy sources<br />
  12. 12. One topic, many views: miners<br />CSG has been mined for 60 years and is a proven technology<br />CSG mines are heavily regulated<br />CSG mines provide jobs and help rural economies<br />QLD risks losing income if CSG not pursued<br />
  13. 13. One topic, many views: community<br />It’s happening too fast<br />Impacts are poorly understood<br />The community is not consulted<br />Political and mining interests are different to the community’s<br />
  14. 14. Main Themes<br />RISK <br />What does each party view as a risk?<br />What constitutes ‘acceptable risk’?<br />How do you define ‘worth’ / what are you values?<br />Individual vs community risk <br />Minimise risk or maximise opportunity?<br />
  15. 15. Main Themes<br />TRUST<br />Do you trust the government to protect your interests?<br />Do you trust the government to understand the science and develop appropriate regulations?<br />Do you trust the industry to follow government regulations?<br />Do you trust the media to provide accurate and balanced information?<br />
  16. 16. Main Themes<br />COMMUNICATION<br />Who should be included in discussions / decisions?<br />Communication and disclosure vs proprietary interests<br />Consultation vs information: whose opinions matter?<br />Is communication tainted by an agenda?<br />Communication of scientific and technical material<br />