By Cyril Toman
“The Greens will ensure a swift transition to a zero-emissions economy powered by 100% renewable energy that looks after people, builds the green jobs of the future and ensures a gas-free future for WA.”
- Repower WA – rapidly transitioning to 100% renewables, banning fracking and phasing out coal and gas
- Accelerate a zero-carbon economy – decarbonising our buildings, transport network and industry
- Create thousands of green jobs and ensure no-one is left behind in the transition to a zero carbon future
- Regenerate our forests, wetlands and oceans – drawing down millions of tonnes of carbon emissions in the process
- Legislate targets for achieving net-zero emissions and 100% renewable energy and deliver a long-term climate change strategy for Western Australia
Among the initiatives the Greens propose are:
- Immediately banning fracking and stopping new or expanding gas projects
- Banning corporate donations to political parties
- Spending $60 million per year on expanding and upgrading cycle and pedestrian paths
- Rolling out the electric vehicle fast-charging network across WA by 2025
- Ending native forest logging
- Legislating targets of 100% renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2035
The Greens’ policy is unique in proposing an immediate ban on fracking and on corporate donations to political parties. Unlike the other parties, the Greens seem to place importance on legislating targets, although it might be pointed out that legislating for something is not the same as making it happen..
Read the Greens’ Climate policy: Tackling Climate Change
“Western Australians are keenly aware of the challenges climate change poses for our environment, economy and community. It’s also clear our communities and our businesses are ready to be part of the global low‑carbon transition, and share in the benefits of greener jobs and new industries.”
- Clean manufacturing and future industries
- Transforming energy generation and use
- Storing carbon and caring for our landscapes
- Lower-carbon transport
- Resilient cities and regions
- Government leadership
Among Labor’s initiatives are:
- Aspiration of net zero emissions for Western Australia by 2050, and a commitment to working with all sectors of the economy to achieve that goal.
- South West Interconnected System (SWIS) big battery
- Renewable Hydrogen Strategy
- Solar Schools Program
- Carbon Farming Industry Development Plan
- Collie Green Aluminium Smelter Study
Labor, with the advantage of being the party in government, had the resources to develop their policy through wide consultation. They have set out detailed objectives, outcomes to be achieved, actions and responsibilities – all inspiring confidence that the plan can be implemented.
Just as interesting as what is in Labor’s plan is what is barely mentioned. As Ketan Joshi writing in Renew Economy about both the Labor and the Liberal plans puts it: “The absence of information is information – you can always tell what’s being papered over by looking to the gaps. In both cases it seems like the WA mining industry has been let off the hook.”
Labor’s plan does include one easily-missed reference to “requiring major emitters assessed under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to set emissions reduction targets and outline their contribution to the State’s net zero aspiration”. But as our Captured State Report shows, these are weasel words and we are yet to see WA’s biggest emitters being held accountable for their carbon offsetting.
Read the Labor Climate policy: Western Australian Climate Policy
“The Liberals are announcing the largest renewable energy export and jobs project in the nation’s history. This mega-project will transform Western Australia’s energy system for the next 50-years and beyond, providing energy security and independence, hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, cheaper energy to households and net zero emissions for the Western Australian government by 2030”
- 100% renewable energy by 2030
- Net zero emissions by 2030 [government sector only]
- $9 billion 4500 MW Renewable Energy Export Mega-Project – the largest in the nation’s history
- Fuel Security and Energy Independence
- Western Australia’s Largest Economic Diversification and Value-Adding Project
- $100 million Real Plan for Collie
- Cheaper Household Energy Bills
Liberal’s initiatives include:
- Build 1,500 megawatts of solar and wind to power Perth, the South West, Wheatbelt and Kalgoorlie
- Build 4,500 megawatts of wind and solar by 2030, to power the production of hydrogen
- Clean public transport and clean government vehicles by 2030
- WA’s electricity system will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2030, including phasing out all government owned coal-fired power stations within five years
- $60 million to expand WA’s electric vehicle network, promote uptake, plan a hydrogen vehicle network and install additional fuelling stations
- A $27 million spend on a shark mitigation policy including the supply of drones for all surf lifesaving clubs, a whale carcass removal strategy, a SMART drumline plan and an upgraded beach warning system
A very interesting turn-around by the Liberal party – a few years ago they were condemning renewables as likely to cause blackouts and put up families’ power bills. Their welcome conversion is good evidence that our message is gaining traction and that climate change is becoming a real issue amongst conservative voters.
It is to be noted that their net zero emissions target by 2030 applies only to the WA Government sector; the policy does not set emissions targets for private mining companies. As with Labor, the gas giants are the elephant in the room.
Interestingly, while Labor and Greens policies use the term green hydrogen; the Liberals’ policy gives off blue hydrogen. At first this looks like a bit of PR spin to make sure that the party faithful don’t have to read the word “green” in a Liberal Party document. However, on a closer reading, blue hydrogen will be produced by fracking for natural gas, i.e. methane, in the Perth Basin and “converting” it to blue hydrogen.
Download the Liberals’ climate policy from this site: New Energy Jobs Plan
“The Nationals WA acknowledge climate change, resulting in more extreme and variable weather patterns. A key strategy to mitigate climate change is to work to minimise greenhouse gas emissions – this includes working with industry and big business to reduce emissions; promote the use of renewable energy; and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.”
The Nationals WA are committed to:
- Assisting our communities and businesses adapt to climate change, and manage any potential economic and social costs
- Aiming to find ways to mitigate the effects of climate change
- Enabling communities and businesses to capture any opportunities which may arise as a result of climate change
- Banning unnecessary packaging
- Ensuring regional people and businesses have the tools to adapt to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030
- Implementing waste minimisation education initiatives
- Exploring incentivising options to encourage and promote agricultural practices that sequester carbon in the soil
- Banning the intentional release of helium balloons
It is consoling that the National’s Climate Change policy acknowledges that there is such a thing as climate change. They support carbon soil sequestration. And we can all happily look forward to the major reduction in global warming that will happen as soon as the intentional release of helium balloons is banned.
Read the Nationals’ Environment/Climate Change Policy here.
NOTE: The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not purport to be representative of 350 Boorloo Perth. Nothing in this article should be construed as offering support or canvassing a vote for any of the parties mentioned.