"Protesters rallied at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday, railing against
Darwin’s controversial Middle Arm venture which critics say would benefit the
The project has been thrust into the headlines of late. Northern Territory
Chief Minister Natasha Fyles drew the ire of critics last week in a speech to
the National Press Club where she insisted her government was “not for turning”
on the project.
Fyles describes Middle Arm as a “sustainable development precinct”. But that
claim is highly questionable. The site is already home to two gas facilities,
and more are planned. Meanwhile, the NT is pursuing a goal of net zero
emissions by 2050 and has committed to “no net increase” in emissions from
fracking. So what’s going on?
It comes down to a new buzz-term in policymaking: “circular economy”. We’ve
heard it applied to realms such as plastics and food waste. It’s increasingly
being applied to carbon emissions, to describe an imagined scenario where
carbon released from one source is used or stored by others to create a “closed
But as our new research finds, this path is a massive gamble. Such offsetting
relies on projects and technologies that do not yet exist, or are not yet
feasible at scale. In effect, the Middle Arm project, and others like it, are
grand experiments with our climate."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics