The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has today released a new Air Quality Guidance which will put stronger obligations on fossil fuel companies to reduce and manage greenhouse gas emissions produced in Western Australia.
The outcome will be a ‘zero net emissions’ approach which will stimulate significant employment in industries that can reduce pollution and generate carbon credits, such as the renewable energy and carbon farming industries.
Clean State campaign manager, Ms Kate Kelly welcomed the policy adjustment saying that,
“Our children and our state now have a much brighter future because of the new Environmental Protection Authority climate policy. Fossil fuel companies will need to demonstrate that they are reducing and counterbalancing all of their climate pollution from production.
At the same time, it provides enormous opportunity for our state’s economy to transition to using renewable energy alongside the growth of carbon offset industries here in WA.”
The new policy will bring State commitments closer in line with Australia’s international agreements and calls from climate scientists to reduce rather than increase climate pollution.
The recent upswing in Australia’s national emissions is mainly driven by the production of Western Australian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for export which uses gas to fuel the liquefaction process and is very energy intensive.
Only 15% of WA gas is used in Western Australia, and only a small fraction of that (around 3%) is used in homes.
Clean State commissioned report, Offsetting Emissions from LNG in WA with independent analysis shows that around 4,000 new jobs would be created, mostly in regional areas through offsetting the emissions of major polluters on projects here in Western Australia. Tree planting, native vegetation or ecological restoration and avoiding clearing will all provide carbon credits, known as ‘carbon farming’.
The policy released today provides a fantastic opportunity for moving towards the diversification of regional economies whilst generating significant social and environmental benefits.
Ms Kelly says “reinstatement and strengthening of conditions on LNG and other fossil fuel companies will send a price signal to the market but one which they can easily meet with a few days of operating profits”
“Compared to the alternative which is runaway impacts from climate change, this policy shows that WA is ready to do its part to stop climate change and it’s a win win situation which will support the right industries and jobs to grow in our economy while looking after the environment.”