Environment groups and the Clean State campaign have welcomed the announcement that a new carbon pollution reduction target of net zero emissions by 2050 would be adopted by the McGowan Government, but the groups have cautioned that the policy must deliver immediate reductions, rather than increases in WA’s pollution if it is to be taken seriously.
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said “We welcome this target as the first step towards credible policy on climate change in Western Australia from the McGowan Government. The target provides clear guidance for polluters, while unlocking thousands of new jobs in clean industries, tree planting, carbon farming and renewable energy.
“At present, WA is the only state with rising pollution (see graph below). Emissions growth in the WA LNG industry is cancelling out the gains that have been made in all other states.
“The key test of this policy is whether it will permit further short or medium-term pollution increases. The suggestion that industry will be able to nominate their own short-term targets under this policy is concerning.
“The McGowan government must now urgently set out an emissions reduction pathway for the state, which must be put into legislation. This must deliver immediate pollution reduction.
“This policy puts the onus back on the LNG industry to show its hand and come up with real solutions to its rising pollution, rather than hiding behind the falsehood that LNG is a climate solution.
“WA’s biggest polluters must now put forward credible plans to reduce their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, starting with immediate pollution reductions.
“Any industry plan or government policy that allows pollution to increase, even in the short term, will be rejected by the community. Such plans are totally out of step with the science on climate change and our state and national obligations.
“While we welcome the setting of a 2050 net zero emissions target for WA, it is concerning that the Government has asked the WA EPA to consult in good faith on its greenhouse gas policy, and before that consultation has even completed, the Government is now making policy which would appear to pre-empt the independent statutory advice of the Authority.”