Experts urge government to dump Woodside project

Dozens of scientists have urged state and federal environment ministers to reject Woodside Energy's plan to expand a gas plant amid fears it could have severe environmental and economic impacts.

In an open letter, more than 50 experts called on Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and West Australian Environment and Climate Action Minister Reece Whitby to refuse the oil and gas producer's Burrup Hub development proposal.

Former Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley is among those calling for the project in WA's northwest to be axed amid claims it could produce the equivalent to 12.1 million car journeys around the world every year for the next 50 years.

“Allowing such an enormous new gas development in WA flies in the face of all the science," the paediatrician and epidemiologist said on Monday.

"Do we need more raging fires and extreme weather events to shock our leaders into making the right decision for all our kids, now and in the future?"

The letter published in The West Australian newspaper sets out the range of climate change-induced impacts that could result from increased carbon emissions, including longer and more deadly heatwaves and bushfire seasons, rainfall decline, droughts, and more intense floods, storms and cyclones. 

“Science shows that the use of all fossil fuels, including gas, must decline imminently if warming is to be limited to 1.5C,” the letter said.

It said the Woodside-operated North West Shelf gas project in WA's Pilbara region was already one of the nation's biggest greenhouse gas emitters.

"It is seeking an extension to burn and produce fossil fuels ... to 2070, to the tune of 4.394 billion tonnes of CO2-e, making it Australia’s biggest climate decision,” the letter said.

Other high-profile signatories to the letter include another former Australian of the Year, climate expert Professor Tim Flannery, and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Lead Author and environmental scientist Professor Peter Newman.

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