Students from the University of Western Australia rallied vocally today in protest at an on-campus research centre tied to the fossil fuel industry.
The Centre for Long Subsea Tiebacks is a research facility that aims to improve the efficiency and reduce the impact of natural gas production.
Chevron and Woodside partly fund the centre and provide approximately $600,000 per annum to run it.
Protesters called on the university to stop what they called the ‘Centre for Climate Damage’ and instead champion research into clean technologies.
Student protester Samuel Keller said the centre would be supporting the Burrup Hub and its work was not consistent with the need to rapidly reduce total emissions to net zero by 2050.
“The Burrup Hub is going to be Australia’s most carbon polluting project ever,” he said.
“This project is going to be producing four times the emissions of the Adani coal mine.
“UWA research is going to directly help this project go ahead.”
Programme Chair for Chemical Engineering at UWA Dr Brendan Graham said the centre was focused on reducing the environmental impact of the natural gas industry and provided pathways for future Australian engineers.
“[Our] aim is to improve the efficiency and reduce the impact of natural gas production from gas fields that are a long distance from the processing facilities on the coast of WA,” he said.
“We all know that coal is polluting and while renewables are the future, these will take time to develop and deploy on a large scale.
“The use of natural gas to replace coal use in energy hungry developing countries will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by many millions of tonnes per year.”
The student protesters said they would continue to fight for the university to uphold its commitment to clean energy.