Climate Change

The Greens (WA) recognise the global climate crisis and will work to have the State Government declare a Climate Emergency.

The Greens (WA) are committed to immediate, strong and sustained action on climate change by rapidly reducing anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and putting in place strategies to help us adapt to damaging changes in the climate that are irreversible.

We have abundant renewable energy resources in Western Australia, and significant technological and entrepreneurial capacities. The Greens (WA) are working to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while building new and prosperous industries in a clean energy economy. (See also The Greens (WA) Energy policy)

The IPCC1 recommendation of a maximium global average temperature rise of no more than 1.5C over pre-industrial temperatures is acknowledged, but is not considered sufficient.

The Greens (WA) recognise that climate change disproportionately affects the most disadvantaged in the community and support a just transition to a zero-carbon economy.

We recognise the role of local government in addressing climate change.

Aims

The Greens (WA) want:

  • a safe climate, requiring a return to an atmospheric concentration of 350ppm or lower of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CO2 equivalents)
  • secure, reliable, renewable and diverse energy supplies
  • Western Australia's domestic and exported fossil fuel based greenhouse gas emissions to be drastically reduced
  • a transition to a zero-carbon economy based on renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • polluter-pays principle applied to all major emitters of greenhouse gases
  • Western Australia to be a leader in renewable energy production and low carbon technology research, innovation and manufacturing
  • an equitable and progressive distribution of the costs of reducing greenhouse emissions and adapting to climate change

Measures

Greens (WA) will initiate and support legislation and actions that:

Institutional reform

  • establish a State Government Department responsible for significantly reducing emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions, to net zero by 2040 at the latest, with powers to ensure that all Government policies support emission reduction aims
  • establish a Minister for Climate Change, Mitigation, Adaptation and Emission Reduction with a well-resourced and high capacity office with whole-of-government responsibility for mitigation, adaptation and climate change communication policy, strategy and funding
  • establish an independent Climate Change Commission to provide independent and expert advice to the Minister
  • ensure each government agency develops a climate change strategy
  • develop a long-term State Energy Strategy including resource audits, transition planning and regulatory reform
  • develop a long-term, overarching State Climate Change Strategy including robust emissions reduction targets and taking into account mitigation and adaptation planning for each sector, transition planning and regulatory reform
  • instigate accurate quantification of greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including currently overlooked sources and sources obscured by inadequate methodologies
  • in the continued absence of a national greenhouse gas emission price, liaise with other States to establish a State based emissions reduction scheme2

Energy Efficiency

  • support community engagement in emissions reduction actions, including household renewable technology options, energy efficiency measures, energy auditing and carbon offsetting programs
  • establish mandatory energy efficiency audits for major energy users, with compulsory implementation of energy management plans to drastically reduce emissions, and where elimination is not possible, permit optimal offsetting mechanisms
  • increase minimum requirements for energy and water use efficiency in new buildings and homes at the design stage, and provide incentives to exceed these minimum requirements (see also The Greens (WA) Housing policy)
  • increase incentives and subsidies for substantial retrofit to existing buildings to improve energy and water efficiency, with explicitly stated and timed targets for overall state-wide efficiency improvements
  • require new homes to have high standards of energy and water efficiency built in at the design stage
  • require mandatory water and energy efficiency disclosure of residential and commercial property prior to sale or lease (see also The Greens (WA) Water policy)

Renewable Energy (see also Energy 2030)

  • commission a planning study for 2030 100% renewable energy scenarios for the Western Australian electricity market
  • reform electricity market access arrangements to allow maximum possible participation by renewable energy suppliers
  • end direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel energy sources and promote development of long-term, efficient and renewable energy technologies
  • ban any new coal-fired power stations or coal mines, and any expansions to any existing power stations or mines, while supporting the development of programs to assist the Collie community to transition to more sustainable sources of economic prosperity
  • ban new Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) developments
  • support a timetable for phasing out existing coal and LNG operations, consistent with a policy of reaching net-zero emissions by 2040
  • end the development of coal-seam, shale3 or tight4 gas-field industries in WA, given the profound risks to our water, land, communities, tourism and agricultural industries, and to our climate

Transport (see also The Greens (WA) Transport policy)

  • fund the expansion and improvement of the public transport system, including an urban light rail system for Perth.
  • prioritise the completion of the Perth Bicycle Network, and extend such networks in regional communities.
  • facilitate the provision of appropriate charging infrastructure to stimulate the rapidly expanded uptake of Electric Vehicles (EVs) into the Western Australian transport system, with awareness of the changing nature of domestic and industrial power supplies.
  • prioritise freight rail investments and intermodal facilities to rapidly increase freight volumes on rail relative to road transport

Adaptation

  • develop a long-term and overarching State Climate Change Strategy including robust emissions reduction targets and taking into account mitigation and adaptation planning for each sector, transition planning and regulatory reform.  (See also The Greens (WA) Planning policy)
  • support the passage of legislation to achieve state climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • review planning policies and building code standards to ensure an appropriate adaptation response.
  • review emergency plans and disaster management preparedness in anticipation of more extreme weather events

Land use 

  • support the revegetation of marginal / degraded agricultural land with suitable local species, with the aim of drawing down carbon and reducing salinity (See also the Greens (WA) Agriculture policy)
  • fund projects which aim to restore ecological connectivity across the landscape in order to maintain ecological health and avoid species extinctions from climate change
  • assess climate change implications for agriculture and develop strategies to support farmers to adapt to a rapidly changing climate
  • support the expansion of forests and woodlands and types of ecologically beneficial plantations and recognise their role in the draw down/ capture of carbon (see also The Greens (WA) Forests & Woodlands and Plantations policies)

(See also the Australian Greens Climate Change and Energy policy)
 

Footnotes

  1. IPCC - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
  2. This occurred previously when NSW and the ACT established the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme (GGAS) and Victoria established the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme.  These so called ‘white certificate’ schemes were discontinued when the national Emission Trading Scheme was introduced in 2010.  Such State based schemes can be designed to complement a future national emissions trading scheme.
  3. Shale gas - natural gas that is trapped within shale foundations.
  4. Tight gas - natural gas produced from rocks with such low permeability that massive hydraulic fracturing is necessary to produce the well at economic rates.

Climate Change policy ratified by The Greens (WA) in 2020

The Greens (WA) climate change spokesperson is Tim Clifford MLC