ABSTRACTIn Australia, Coal Seam Gas (CSG) is a relatively new source of natural gas commonly advocated as a lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions alternative to coal. This study investigates how GHG emissions have been, and potentially could be, assessed within the Australian CSG industry. The research involved a document analysis of several Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and consultant reports prepared as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for major CSG projects in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (Qld). There were found to be inconsistencies in the conduct of greenhouse assessment by the CSG industry, including how complete and transparent assessments were, as well as how effectively they addressed project emission intensity and cumulative impacts. There were also found to be large inconsistencies between assessments carried out for Qld projects and those for NSW projects, likely because of differences in how assessment requirements are applied by planning bodies. This study also highlights how alternative assessment approaches, such as Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), have potential to enable a broader and more consistent understanding of emission sources that cross a range of geographical and project boundaries.

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