Media Release Offshore Oil and Gas

Sea Dumping bill allows dumping of CO2 under our oceans, threatening marine life, communities and climate

by Louise Morris November 14, 2023
  • Australian government with support of the Coalition has fast-tracked Sea Dumping legislation through the Senate
  • Sea Dumping bill enables Australia to be a global trader in trying to dump CO2 under our oceans using Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
  • CCS is unproven, unsafe and unviable

The Sea Dumping bill, which was pushed through the Australian Senate, will make Australia a global trader in dumping carbon dioxide (CO2) under our oceans, threatening our marine life and climate, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said after the bill passed the Senate last night.

AMCS Offshore Oil and Gas Campaigner Manager Louise Morris said: “Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are unproven, unsafe and unviable. It provides cover for the fossil fuel industry to significantly expand in Australia when the world needs to cut fossil fuel use, using CCS as a greenwashing tool for carbon credits and offsets.

“The government backed by the Coalition has greenlit a new fossil fuel industry in Australia. This controversial bill enables the import and export of CO2 across international boundaries to dump carbon pollution under our oceans, and, with agreement, that of our Southeast Asian neighbours, using unproven and unsafe CCS technologies.

“This bill sets Australia on the wrong path to reducing our emissions. Australia’s focus must be on rapidly cutting emissions through stopping new fossil fuel projects and new offshore acreage for oil and gas, in line with best science on how we achieve our Paris commitments.

“Instead, we are seeing the Australian government sink taxpayers’ monies into unproven CCS technologies that extend the life of fossil fuel extraction, and increase the threat to our oceans, communities and climate by dumping carbon pollution into depleted oil and gas wells under the seabed.

“CCS is a false solution for reducing emissions and meaningful action on climate change. It is unproven, unsafe and unviable at scale. Even if sequestration volumes claimed were achieved, it would only offset a small amount of the total amounts being emitted.

“CCS is a boondoggle for the fossil fuel industry, and an exercise in public relations and delay tactics to extend the life of gas and oil.

“There is no requirement for environmental impact assessment to be undertaken for CCS import-export. This is an omission that should have stopped the passing of this bill. Given the significant environmental risks posed by the global trade of greenhouse gases, and dumping carbon pollution under our oceans, CCS projects must require the most stringent of environmental conditions, regulation, monitoring and enforcement.

“The Australian public wants to see real action on climate change that results in a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. Instead this bill enables the expansion of the fossil fuel sector by creating a whole new market in dumping carbon pollution, and greenwashing CCS for carbon offsets and false claims of carbon neutrality.”


Header image: An oil platform and carbon storage project in the South China Sea. Photo by Mao Siqian/Xinhua via Getty Images.