Ug Rabbit Hole Essay

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This challenge begins with ancient sunlight trapped in deep time, condensed into fossilised life, and cooked under the heat and pressure of kilometres of rock. From the ‘age of dinosaurs’, some 200 million years ago (mya), methane - a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide - lay sequestered, safely locked away from the atmosphere three kilometers down in shale, two in sandstones, and one in coal seams, as life evolved overhead. The gas was there when mammals (205 mya) and flowering plants (130 mya) first appeared. Then a meteor struck and dinosaurs departed (66 mya). The gas stayed put as continents drifted and Australia split off from Antarctica and South America (50 mya). Locally, the Mt Warning/Wollumbin volcano erupted…show more content…
A friend said ‘you’d better look at this’ and that led Susan and me down the CSG rabbit hole, which, to be technically correct, should be relabelled the ‘UG’ rabbit hole (for ‘unconventional gas’). Whatever you call it, it was a hell of a hole. Like Alice, once we were in, there was no turning back, and as we fell deeper, things became curiouser and curiouser. By the time we woke up, the fate of Queensland’s Darling Downs was sealed and mining giant Santos was deep into the Pilliga State Forest and the premier farming region of the Liverpool Plains. More than 50 gas wells had been drilled in the Northern Rivers and thousands more were planned. A gas pipeline connecting our region to the Gladstone liquefied natural gas export hub via the Border Ranges National Park looked to be a done deal. And government ministers and gas company executives were telling the community that there was nothing they could do about it. That seems a long time ago now, though only about six years has passed. I feel as if I’ve earned a Master’s Degree in Gas that I never wanted, but am now grateful to have. I’ll tell you what I know about this challenge, and how it was met with perhaps the finest example of creative problem-solving on a grand scale that Australia has
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