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WA climate change policy welcome, but it must address WA’s rising pollution

December 05, 2018
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The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) has welcomed today’s announcement that the McGowan Government will develop a state climate change policy, recognising that Western Australia has an important role to play in addressing the drivers and impacts of climate change.

PHOTO: Rise for Climate Rally, Perth 2018 CREDIT: Simon Stevens

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said the development of a climate change policy in consultation with the community was a huge opportunity to help transition Western Australia from a leader in polluting industries, to a leader in a global clean, renewable energy economy.

“WA has the technology, the renewable energy resources, the raw materials, and the engineering and manufacturing capability to become a superpower in the new clean economy.

“Our state also faces huge challenges ahead with climate change impacts already affecting rainfall, coastal communities, agriculture, fisheries, and the health of people and communities.

“Western Australia’s economy, communities, and environment are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, so it is essential that we are taking action to reduce carbon pollution and play our role in the clean energy revolution.

“The good news is that we can benefit from the solutions if the State Government takes a strategic and ambitious approach in this area.

“Broad consultation with the community, as well as scientific experts, will be essential in the development of any climate change policy for WA, and we call on the McGowan Government to ensure that comprehensive consultation and community engagement occurs. All sectors of the economy and community have a role to play, and it is essential that this policy process engages them.

“Over the last few years, WA’s carbon pollution has been rapidly rising due to the oil and gas industry and growth in the LNG export industry. This pollution growth is breaching Australia’s international obligations by placing our Paris carbon pollution reduction targets at risk.

“It is essential that any climate policy for WA does not simply focus on adapting to climate change, but ensures we have a robust, credible and science-based policy framework to reduce our state’s carbon pollution over time.

“Research by Reputex Energy shows that offsetting the carbon pollution from LNG developments can have significant economic benefits, including creation of around 4,000 new jobs. This is exactly the kind of opportunity that a strong climate change policy could deliver for WA.

“The recent decision by Premier McGowan to allow gas fracking in WA has the potential to become a major new driver of pollution for our state and globally. It is not credible to acknowledge the science of climate change on one hand, yet allow major new fossil fuel developments on the other hand.

“We welcome the move to develop a WA climate policy, but stress that it must tackle the state’s rising carbon pollution, including preventing new polluting industries like gas fracking, if it is to be a credible approach that the community can trust.”

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