One of Australia’s most prestigious climate scientists has warned a packed town hall meeting in Broome that their town is on track to become “unliveable” if carbon emissions are not dramatically reduced soon.

IPCC report author and CEO of Climate Analytics Bill Hare told the sold out event that the world is currently on track for 2.7°C degrees of warming based on current government policies.

“The number of days over 40°C degrees across the northern land surface of Australia will increase quite rapidly. In a town like Broome, it could become too hot to work outside in parts of the year within a few decades,” warned Hare.

“Cattle also would not be able to survive once temperature and humidity reaches dangerous levels. It could become quite unlivable in several decades if we don’t dramatically reduce emissions soon and act to limit warming to 1.5°C.”

Climate scientists and IPCC report author Bill Hare brief Broome locals 2024

Climate scientist and IPCC report author Bill Hare briefs Broome locals.

Broome locals were briefed by Greenpeace, Conservation Council of WA and Environs Kimberley on Woodside’s new plans to drill at Scott Reef to develop the Browse field off the Kimberley coast, Australia’s largest untapped gas field.

Ten years after Woodside’s failed attempt to build an onshore gas processing plant at James Price Point, the fossil fuel giant is planning to build a 900-kilometre-long pipeline to pipe gas from the Browse field to the Karratha gas plant, as part of its wider Burrup Hub project.

Woodside’s proposal, which has been submitted for federal and state approval, would see the company drill up to 50 wells at the stunning Scott Reef, turning pristine waters into an industrial gas zone.

Broome locals packed a townhall meeting Save Scott Reef launch May 2024

Broome locals packed a town hall meeting on Thursday 16 May to hear about Woodside’s plans to build a massive new fossil fuel project off the Kimberley coast.

Sitting 270 kilometres off the Kimberley coast, Scott Reef is one of Australia’s most vibrant and biodiverse standalone coral reefs, home to many threatened species including endangered green sea turtles and the endangered pygmy blue whale.

Woodside wants to drill just two kilometres from Scott Reef’s edge, risking a catastrophic oil spill. Meanwhile, the pipeline Woodside wants to build will also sit within 2 to 3 kilometres of the stunning Rowley Shoals, a diving paradise regularly visited by Broome marine tourism operators.

Broome locals had not previously been informed of the dangerous risks Woodside’s plans pose for the Kimberley coast.

“Woodside’s plans haven’t been made clear and transparent to Broome residents. People are just not aware of the risks. If something goes wrong, a well blowout could spread for hundreds of kilometres,” said Martin Pritchard, Director of Strategy at Environs Kimberley.

“Woodside’s safety record has been described by unions as ‘diabolical.’ They have had two pipeline accidents already this year off Karratha. We must place the protection of the Kimberley coast and everyone's jobs in tourism over Woodside profits.”

With the project facing possible approval within the next few months, Environs Kimberley called on Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to visit Broome and Scott Reef to see first-hand what is at stake.

“This is a massive new fossil fuel development in a critically important area for endangered pygmy blue whales and green turtles - it’s completely unacceptable. Minister Plibersek can protect our oceans and wildlife for future generations by stopping Woodside’s destructive plans. We invite Minister Plibersek to come to the Kimberley and see for herself what's at stake.”

Save Scott Reef Broome launch banner May 2024

“Scott Reef is the unknown jewel in the crown of Australia’s offshore reefs. There would be a national outcry if Woodside was drilling for oil and gas on the Great Barrier Reef, we need the same kind of response here,” said Mr Pritchard.

“Broome banded together and successfully defeated Woodside in 2013. We need the community’s support again here to protect Scott Reef and the Kimberley coast from Woodside for good.”

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