Weak WA Climate Bill a Blow to National Emissions Target


Details about the WA Government’s proposed climate change bill demonstrate that it is an inadequate and inappropriate response to the state’s rising energy emissions, and deal a major blow to the Federal Government’s 43% emissions target.

Key points:

  • Despite the urgency of climate action, the proposed bill fails to require the WA Government to set a 2030 target in line with other states and the Commonwealth.
  • The proposed bill also will do nothing to prevent more enormous new export gas projects, including Woodside’s North West Shelf extension, which would result in almost 400 million tonnes of emissions in WA, and 4.3 billion tonnes globally.
  • The explanatory paper for the proposed bill contains no measures to rein in the rapidly rising emissions of the gas industry, despite gas industry emissions making up almost the entire increase in WA’s energy emissions since 2005 and endangering Australia’s national emissions targets.
  • Official data shows that WA’s energy emissions have increased by 53% since 2005, driven by increased gas exports.
  • LNG emissions have increased by 26 million tonnes per year (400%) since 2005 and appear to account for almost the entire 26.8 million tonnes increase in energy emissions.
  • Fugitive emissions, mainly from the gas industry, are up an incredible 128% since 2005.

“Western Australia’s growing gas industry emissions are a problem not just for WA, but also for the rest of Australia,” said Richard Denniss, Executive Director of the Australia Institute.

“The timing could not be worse, coming during the UN Climate Ambition Summit, where Australia must face the world and defend its inaction on climate change.

“Just last week we heard that the former Premier pressured the WA EPA to withdraw its climate guidelines after lobbying from the gas industry. Now we see a proposed climate bill that does nothing to rein in a leading cause of climate change, gas industry emissions.

“The unbridled expansion of the gas industry in Western Australia will make Australia’s climate targets unachievable.

“Western Australia’s gas industry emissions are wiping out the emissions reduction efforts of other states, and today’s climate bill shows that the WA Government has no intention of reining in emissions from the gas industry.

“This is an enormous problem for the Federal Government and particularly for Climate Minister Chris Bowen and Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek.

“Minister Bowen now has to convince the other states to take on bigger emissions cuts to help the Western Australian Government and the multinational gas companies that operate in WA.

“Minister Plibersek will have to either refuse approvals for new gas projects and take on the West Australian Government or approve gas expansions and explain why to an Australian electorate increasingly hit by climate disasters and increasing insurance costs.

“Western Australia is already being impacted by climate change, from devastating heatwaves and floods and declining rainfall in the south-west.

“This explanatory paper suggests that pleasing the gas industry is more important to the WA Government than tackling climate change.”