- WA Climate Policy released following consultation in late 2019.
- The State expresses an aspiration, but no concrete target, of WA net zero emissions by 2050.
- A number of challenges are recognised for WA, given energy-intensive industries and projected growth in the resources sector.
On 30 November, the Western Australian Government released the long awaited ‘Western Australian Climate Policy: A plan to position Western Australian for a prosperous and resilient low-carbon future’. The policy follows consultation on a climate change issues paper in late 2019. A copy of the policy and information about the consultation process can be accessed here.
The policy identifies current and future actions to reduce emissions and enhance resilience in Western Australia. Policy Actions are outlined in the following 6 themes:
- Clean manufacturing and future industries (including renewable hydrogen, future batteries and ‘green’ steel)
- Transforming energy generation and use (improve energy efficiency and uptake of renewable energy)
- Storing carbon and caring for our landscapes (enormous potential for carbon sequestration in vegetation and soils)
- Lower-carbon transport (METRONET and Electric Vehicle Strategy)
- Resilient cities and regions (dealing with climate risks)
- Government leadership on emissions reductions
The relationship between this policy and existing policy setting in Western Australia is noted. In particular, the State Government requirement for new proposals or expansions undergoing Environmental Protection Act 1986 Part IV Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) assessment to set interim and long-term emissions reduction target’s consistent with the State’s net zero aspiration.
Announces new and highlights existing low carbon initiatives, including;
- $21 million for an Electric Vehicle Strategy;
- more than $100 million towards the 100 megawatt big battery;
- $15 million for the WA Carbon Farming Strategy and Land Restoration Program;
- $3.1 million for the Climate Science Program for improved climate change projections;
- Plan for a net zero transition across WA’s public sector;
- $15 million Renewable Hydrogen Fund, plus $13 million funding to support the fledgling industry;
- $60 million Green Jobs Plan;
- $9.2 million Clean Energy Future Fund;
- Renewable Hydrogen Strategy; and
- The Future Battery Industry Strategy.
Net zero aspiration
The policy contains an aspiration that the State achieves net zero emissions by 2050. The net zero component of the policy is a target only. The approach aims to lower emissions while progressively transitioning the public sector, mining, energy and agriculture industries and the broader economy to a low carbon future.
Key takeaways for industry
The policy establishes a Government expectation that industry will consider targets to reduce carbon emissions that align with Government’s net zero aspiration. More broadly, net zero commitments are gaining traction in Australia and globally, and are likely to be a more prominent feature of businesses response to climate change moving forward.
Over the course of 2021 and 2022, a number of initiatives and programs will be launched by Government to support this aspiration and assist businesses to make their own transition. While there are likely to be implications for a business as usual approach, Government initiatives may also present opportunities for and the potential for economic growth.
For more information, see here.
By Melanie Debenham, Partner, and Michael Voros, Special Counsel, Perth