By Rhiannon Hardwick
In the last couple of months, the landscape for climate justice campaigners in WA has shifted radically:
- Woodside merged with BHP Petroleum to become one of the ten biggest fossil fuel corporations in the world
- The war in Ukraine has led to higher gas prices, with profits being funnelled overseas and Australian households being hit with electricity bills
- Australians voted for the climate, with the biggest ever swing towards the Greens and climate-focussed independents
- New Federal Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, gave her support to the Scarborough gas project, amidst warnings from scientists against developing new fossil fuel projects
- The WA government has committed to retiring all state-owned coal power stations by 2030 and investing billions into renewable energy
So where does this all leave us?
More people voted with climate as their most important issue than any other topic, and governments appear to be responding to the public demand for climate action by shifting energy investments into renewable technologies.
Yet we still have a state and federal government that is ultimately captured by the fossil fuel industry, due in large part to the sizable political donations made by fossil gas companies such as Woodside.
State capture has resulted in continued government support for new fossil fuel projects, such as Scarborough gas, at a time when scientists and other experts say that we can not approve any new coal, oil or gas projects in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
At Woodside’s AGM in May, activists from the Say No to Scarborough Gas campaign and ‘Save Our Songlines’ campaign confronted Woodside about their dismal track record on climate and lack of consultation with Traditional Custodians of Murujuga. Unsurprisingly, CEO Meg O’Neill and chairman Richard Goyder tried to obfuscate and avoid answering the majority of our questions.
At the AGM it was once again made abundantly clear that Woodside’s board is committed to doubling down on fossil fuels. This now mega fossil fuel corporation is not only pursuing Scarborough gas, but is now also considering Browse – a gas field even bigger and more polluting than Scarborough.
We will need to get a head start on campaigning against this second part of the Burrup Hub, so stay tuned as this campaign develops!
We are also now focusing on changing government policy and regulation in order to affect all existing and proposed fossil fuel projects at once.
WA’s Environmental Protection Authority will soon be releasing its Draft Greenhouse Gas Policy for public consultation. This is an incredibly important opportunity for you to help shape climate policy and curb carbon pollution in WA.
The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) will be leading a submissions campaign over the next couple of months, which is part of a longer-term campaign against gas pollution in WA. 350 Boorloo Perth will be lending support to this campaign and finding ways to help undermine the influence of the gas lobby in WA.
If you’re interested in volunteering with 350 Boorloo Perth, make sure you sign up here!