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Forrest calls carbon offsets `unreliable'

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Billionaire Andrew Forrest has called carbon offsets an unreliable way of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and defended plans to build a gas-hydrogen power station in NSW.

Fortescue Metals does not offset emissions from its iron ore mining operations in Western Australia despite its founder saying he is a heavy carbon emitter.

Organisations may pay for offsets, which fund projects to reduce carbon dioxide, rather than lower their emissions. Offsets may be traded with others.

The Fortescue chairman told a superannuation conference on Wednesday of his concerns.

"We think offsets will become less and less popular as people realise how very unreliable they are," he said.

Mr Forrest said there were scams in the industry, although did not elaborate.

"We think actually what the world needs isn't offset. It just needs to stop producing carbon," he said.

Mr Forrest has touted green hydrogen as the future of the mining giant.

Fortescue Future Industries is investigating using green hydrogen to make steel without the environmental impacts of using coal.

Yet this has not stopped Mr Forrest planning a gas-hydrogen power station at Port Kembla, in NSW's Illawarra region, through his Squadron Energy company.

The $1.3 billion project will provide power to homes and small business.

The power station would sit next to a gas import terminal Squadron is already building.

The station will run mostly on imported gas when it starts operating in about 2025, then only use green hydrogen by 2030.

Mr Forrest argued importing gas was necessary to have the station up and running sooner.

"There will be an energy crisis unless that gas is imported," he said.

"If suddenly that terminal didn't go ahead, then the east coast may face what some fear, which is an energy crisis.

"Please don't be concerned. That (terminal) is going ahead and the green hydrogen is available."

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