McGowan government’s proposed new climate laws meaningless without ban on massive new Kimberley gas projects

Environs Kimberley

Environs Kimberley (EK), Broome-based conservation group, agrees wholeheartedly with McGowan government’s announcement that climate change is the “greatest challenge of our lifetime”. But EK warns that new laws setting targets for net zero by 2050 must begin reducing WA’s sky-rocketing emissions immediately, and not allow further increases.

“These new laws have the potential to be a major breakthrough for WA, and a big step forward for the climate and WA’s economy. Congratulations to the Minister and all those who worked on this”, said EK Director Martin Pritchard.

“The Bill must not just legislate the point target of net zero by 2050. It must also cap emissions at current levels and require science-based interim targets to be set for our state, with a carbon budget.

“The WA EPA approach of requiring net zero for new projects by 2050 while allowing emissions to continue rising in the short term, has facilitated some of the largest and most polluting new fossil gas developments on the planet, such as Woodside’s Scarborough project.

“Let’s be clear about this, unless the new legislation leads to a reduction in emissions in the immediate short term, followed up with continued, accelerating reductions, it will be meaningless.

“There must be science-based interim targets, with a carbon budget and a legislated cap on emissions at current levels to prevent further rises. Setting a target for 30 years’ time while allowing vastly increasing emissions from fracking the Kimberley or allowing Woodside to open up the offshore Browse basin, will only ensure further climate catastrophe – as we are already seeing with the unprecedented Kimberley floods.

“We’re calling on the Premier to take leadership on ensuring a safe climate by banning fracking in the Kimberley, and making sure Woodside’s Browse methane project doesn’t go ahead.

“The Kimberley has just experienced the worst floods in living memory which is exactly what State government predictions are saying is expected in the future from dangerous climate change caused by burning fossil fuels like gas.

The International Energy Agency has said if we are to have a safe climate, we cannot open up new oil and gas basins. Climate scientists have calculated opening up the Kimberley’s Canning Basin would lead to vast emissions of carbon dioxide and methane equivalent to more than double Australia’s Paris Agreement commitment for energy.

/Public Release.