Changes to the greenhouse gas conditions of Woodside’s controversial Pluto gas plant will not materially make the site any less polluting or environmentally damaging, according to Western Australia’s peak conservation body.
A report published today by WA’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommends that Pluto be brought into line with its most recent greenhouse gas emissions conditions, including emissions limits and emissions reductions to be made over specified time periods.
However, the recommendation has been described as ‘tinkering around the edges’ by the Conservation Council of WA, which has been a critic of Woodside’s continued expansion of its highly polluting fossil fuel export business in the state.
The change will apply both to the existing Pluto site and Woodside’s plans for expansion. The Pluto Train 2 proposal will see the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure both on-land and on the ocean floor to allow Woodside to extract, process and export gas on the Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga). This will involve significant disruption and highly invasive construction and clearing in sensitive areas of natural habitat for humpback whales, dugongs, turtles and sea birds.
Responding to the report, Maggie Wood, Programs Director at the Conservation Council of WA, said: “This is only a very small step.”
“In the grand scheme of things, it is only tinkering around the edges.
“The scope of the EPA’s inquiry did not extend to the merits – or otherwise – of Woodside’s plans to reduce emissions for Pluto, only that it be brought in line with the most recent greenhouse gas conditions.
“Whether Pluto is subject to the new set of greenhouse gas conditions, or the old ones, neither will to be able to mitigate the effects of billions of tonnes of pollution being produced over the next 30 years.
“Woodside’s current emissions reductions targets do not reflect the need to address climate change and its impact on the WA environment. The EPA says as much in its report, noting that Woodside has opportunities within its grasp to make far more substantial emissions reductions this decade.
“The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified action to address greenhouse gas emissions in this decade as critical in preventing the worst effects of climate change – but it really is ‘now or never’.
“Woodside is not pulling its weight. It is still deeply committed to creating billions more tonnes of carbon emissions through new, highly polluting fossil fuel projects. This will make it near impossible for WA to meet its own emissions targets and make climate related weather events - like floods, droughts and bush fires – more frequent and more severe.”
MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing nearly 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia. For more information, visit: ccwa.org.au.
CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies on 08 9420 7291 / 0412 272 570 or by email, [email protected]