Western Australia’s New Emissions Policy Welcomed by Industry

(Bloomberg) -- Western Australia will work towards a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and align its policy with the country’s Paris climate targets in a move that was welcomed by the energy industry.

The resource-rich state will work with the proponents of new projects on greenhouse gas management plans outlining their contribution to meeting the net zero target, Bill Johnston, the state’s energy minister said in a statement. He affirmed the state’s support of a nationwide target to reduce emissions by up to 28% of 2005 levels by 2030.

“The State Government has listened to industry and has taken an important step towards providing certainty for the major investments that will deliver jobs, opportunity and tax revenue to Western Australia,” Woodside Petroleum Ltd. Chief Executive Peter Coleman said in an emailed statement.

Earlier in the year, the state’s Environmental Protection Authority withdrew proposed guidelines that would have required new projects to fully offset their carbon emissions, after an industry backlash. Producers argued that a state-based climate target risked seeing investment diverted to other states or overseas. The regulator has since engaged in a consultation process, and revised guidelines are expected later this year.

Western Australia’s EPA operates independently of the state government and offers guidelines but the state government has the ultimate say. The state government is developing a broader climate policy which will be announced in 2020, Johnston said.

Coleman urged the EPA to take the same approach as the state government as it considers new policies. Woodside is preparing to make final investment decisions on its multi-billion dollar Scarborough and Browse projects next year.

The policy covers emissions directly released from within the state, not emissions associated with energy exported to other countries.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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