Today’s West Australian article “Resource sector calls for EPA guidelines to be held back” quotes a submission from Shell Australia, which is seeking to block responsible job-creating action on climate in our state. What the article omits to mention is the blatant dishonesty of Shell on this issue.
Publicly, the company has committed to the goals of the Paris agreement, which require complete decarbonisation of its global energy portfolio by 2050. Yet, Shell remains part of a joint venture seeking to develop one of the world’s largest and most polluting fossil fuel projects, right here on our doorstep. According to information supplied to the EPA, the combined Browse Basin and Burrup Hub LNG proposal would produce around 100 million tonnes of carbon pollution every year until well beyond 2050.
This would make the project Australia’s largest pollution source, at roughly four times the emissions of the proposed Adani coal mine. LNG processing here in WA by Shell and other companies is already the state’s largest polluter and the single greatest factor driving up Australia’s climate pollution in breach of our international commitments.
Independent analysis shows the EPA policy Shell is arguing against would create thousands of jobs and opportunities across our state in clean industries like carbon farming, renewable energy, tree planting and clean technology. At an estimated cost of just 2% of LNG company profits, offsetting climate damage is mere pocket change for multinationals paying no royalties for the gas they export and little tax on the proceeds of its sale.
By blocking climate action, companies like Shell are not only fuelling the climate emergency but are standing in the way of jobs and investment, and a cleaner future for our state. Astonishingly, these companies argue that the cost of their climate damage should be borne by taxpayers and other businesses, while they receive record profits damaging our climate for free.
What the West Australian has so far failed to report is that the EPA consultation process actually revealed overwhelming support for action on climate change, and new rules requiring companies like Shell to offset their climate damaging pollution. Nearly seven thousand submissions were received by the EPA – over 98% of them in support of the policy or calling for even stronger action. Among those were a line-up of some of WA’s most respected scientists, farmers, faith groups, local government and industry leaders. Among those was Ian Dunlop, ex chair of the Australian Coal Association who argued in his submission that the EPA guidelines “are too conservative compared with measures which are now required to avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the WA environment.”
Let’s get real about action on climate change and the opportunities it would create for WA, rather than being held back by the state’s biggest polluters like Shell.
Piers Verstegen, Director Conservation Council of WA
Clean State advocates for action on climate change in Western Australia. Clean State promotes solutions to address WA’s biggest polluters in ways that create thousands of jobs and exciting opportunities for communities and businesses across the state.