EPA puts the onus on companies to reduce emissions

The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has updated its draft gas emissions guideline, requiring companies to contribute to the state’s zero net emissions target by 2050.

Western Australian companies, including those in the resources sector, will need to show their work towards avoiding, reducing and offsetting their greenhouse emissions, the EPA stated.

The EPA’s original guideline in March stated projects emitting more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide were required to entirely offset these emissions to get the environmental green light from the state.

This received backlash from the mining, oil and gas sectors with concerns for the hundreds of thousands of Australians employed in the resources industry.

Woodside Energy also voiced its concerns for the Browse, Scarborough and Pluto Train 2 projects, stating the guidelines left Western Australia “unfairly exposed and at a competitive disadvantage” compared with other states.

In shaping the EPA’s updated guideline, the statutory body opened a public consultation period and received nearly 7000 submissions.

“(We) support proponents being publicly accountable for meeting the greenhouse gas targets set by the state,” EPA chair Tom Hatton said.

“(The EPA) will also consider undertaking its own public reporting on the progress of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Western Australia.”

Hatton said after the release of the initial guideline, public discourse has changed about the impact climate change are having on the environment.

“Encouragingly, some Australian business leaders in the resources sector have announced their commitment to net zero emissions by 2050,” he said.

“We welcome (this) as a step in the right direction towards prioritising the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

The EPA, which has been advising the state government for more than 20 years, will review its guideline after the government releases its climate policy next year.

Its final guideline will be released in March 2020.

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