Reflections on WA’s Legislated Emissions Target Part Two – WA and a 2030 Target
26 January 2023
What should WA’s 2030 emission reduction target be?
On one hand, WA will find it harder to bring industrial emissions due to our gas and mining sectors but on the other hand, electricity will be easier due to our immense sun and wind resources,
In responding to this question Prof Bill Hare said to ABC radio that WA should at least be in the ballpark of the national target – which is 43% down from 2005 levels.
If WA was to align with the national target what would this mean for emissions in 2030?
In 2005 WA’s emissions were 76 million tonnes. A 43% reduction on this 2005 level would require WA to reduce emissions by around 32.4 tonnes. This would mean WA’s emissions would need to sit at about 43.5 million tonnes pa by 2030.
But given WA is the only state where emissions have gone up since 2005 – NSW has cut emissions by 17%, Victoria by 25%, Queensland by 14%, South Australia by 33%, and Tasmania by 109%- it will mean more than this reduction.
In 2019 WA’s emissions had risen 21% to 93 million tonnes per annum. While there was a COVID drop in 2020, and probably 2021, emissions are expected to jump up again from 2022 and beyond.
In summary, what this means is WA reducing emissions by 43% by 2030 on 2005 levels would mean in reality emissions reductions of well over 50% on current levels over the next 7 years between now and 2030 if WA is to do its fair share.
Analysis I did last year with Climate Analytics showed that at the very minimum WA would need to reduce emissions by 48% to do its minimum amount based on what other states have committed to help Australia meet its legislated 43% target.
This might sound daunting, because it is.
But on the upside, WA is rich with opportunities in the clean energy transition. We have sun, wind, land and people to be a renewable energy superpower.
I hope this week’s announcement is just a starting point for the McGowan Government to step up to the urgency of the situation and make even more ambitious announcements in 2023. The excuse that it’s too hard because we’re a mining and gas state doesn’t cut it. We’re under performing in almost every other sector too. Take the analysis the Climate Council did on state transport emissions late last year in which WA in the worst performing state:
These will need to be announcements with real detail and immediate action – not just a far-off 2050 target and no serious plan to get us there.