The NT Government has confirmed it must deal with the increased greenhouse gases which come from developing an onshore gas industry before it can go into full production.
If fracking goes ahead in the Territory then Australia's greenhouse gas emissions will increase by about 4.5 per cent, the Pepper scientific inquiry found.
The government has just released a draft offsets paper for public comment with no detail on how it intends to cater for the NT's extra pollution.
The Pepper inquiry said if shale gas fracking goes ahead Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions can't go up so the NT Government and the Australian Government have to work together to reduce emissions elsewhere.
Fracking has already begun in the Territory as energy companies spend millions of dollars in a race to explore the Beetaloo for shale gas with no offsets yet in place.
The government today confirmed, in line with recommendations from the inquiry, the offsets must be in place before the industry proceeds to production.
That is estimated to take anywhere from two to five years.
"Offsets should last at least as long as the development project's impacts and preferably in perpetuity," the draft policy says, to make matters a little more complicated.
The NT Government released its 11-page draft offsets policy for public comment last week.
Even its own scientific experts have warned a shale gas industry would wreck the Territory's climate credentials.
Protect Country Alliance spokeswoman Lauren Mellor said the draft offsets policy made it clear politicians had no plan to deal with the rise in greenhouse gases.
"There is no legally binding information, and no clarity on the scale of pollution that will need to be offset in this draft document. It's open for comment, but lacks any detail to comment on.
"As the climate crisis intensifies and the country is reeling from extreme weather impacts, this level of obfuscation from the NT Government is absolutely unacceptable."
The NT Government has set a a long-term "aspirational" target of net zero emissions by 2050.
The NT government accepted the scientific panel's recommendation - "That the NT and Australian governments seek to ensure that there is no net increase in the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions emitted in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced in the NT".
In its climate change document released earlier in the year there are just two paragraphs to the development of onshore gas on Page 15 of the document.
"The NT Government has accepted Recommendation 9.8 of the inquiry, which states that the NT and Australian Government seek to ensure there is no net increase in the lifecycle emissions emitted in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced in the NT.
"The NT Government is continuing to work with the Australian Government on this matter."
"The purpose of the policy is to ensure economic development continues while our environmental values are protected in the long term," the government said with last week's launch of the draft offsets policy.
"It will guide the development of offsets arrangements, as well as biodiversity offsets where projects are determined to have a significant residual impact.
The government says the NT "is proposing to implement a target based offsets model which fits our unique circumstances".
It says reducing wildfires, weeds and feral animals could provide offsets in the form of more plants to lock up carbon.
It says the Territory has a "unique set of environmental characteristics that require a Territory-specific approach to offset implementation".
"These include: relatively intact landscapes which mean that biodiversity loss cannot generally be averted in the NT by simply 'locking up' an offset area.
"Rather, management of loss generally requires the reduction of pervasive threats such as inappropriate fire, weeds and feral animals, which is most effectively achieved at a broad landscape scale the fine-scale ecosystem mapping and habitat integrity metrics used in offset calculations in southern states are not available for the NT land tenure regimes in the NT are very different, with almost all land being leasehold or Aboriginal freehold. Securing land for conventional offsets, especially in perpetuity, is very problematic for many potential offset scenarios."
It also says - "Developments that generate greenhouse gas emissions can offset those emissions by avoiding or sequestering GHG emissions in another area".
But again there is no further detail on that.
The government says development of this model will be tailored through public consultation and expert advice from academics and practitioners.
The model could include the reduction of landscape-scale threats such as fire, weeds and feral animals.
Offsets in the Northern Territory could provide new opportunities for Aboriginal Territorians through jobs on country whilst ensuring ongoing economic investment.
The community is invited to provide feedback of the draft Policy by visiting https://haveyoursay.nt.gov.au/
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler said: "The Government understands a strong economy relies on a healthy environment. This is why we are developing a climate change plan, it's why we are creating jobs through our 50% renewables target, it's why we are strengthening environmental protection laws, and why we are developing an offsets policy.
"Our Territory has a unique set of environmental characteristics which needs a specific Territory approach.
"The Government will work with community members and leaders in this field to create the best offsets policy suited for the Territory."
The draft policy can be found here.
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