WA to develop new climate change policy

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The Western Australian Government will release a climate change policy that takes into account advances in climate science and national policy changes for the state.

The initiative is driven by Western Australia’s exposure to impacts from national greenhouse gas policies due to its energy-intensive, resource-based economy.

The climate policy will build on existing climate-related measures that are already under way, including ways to enhance renewable energy (e.g. renewable hydrogen), strategies to secure water supplies to offset reduced rainfall (e.g. recycled water and desalination), and acceleration of electric vehicles

The McGowan Government believes that despite the leadership of the federal government at a national level, the state government has a role to play.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said, “There’s more we can do to reduce the risks, the impacts and the costs. And there’s more we can do to improve the resilience of our communities and our environment.

“But there are measures we can take to ensure Western Australia is well positioned in the face of rapid technological change and a changing climate – whatever the position of the Commonwealth Government.”

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will build on the above climate-related measures and coordinate the new policy over the next 12 months.

The previous climate change strategy was published in 2012 and developed in the context of a national carbon price.

Western Australia is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The South West, for example, is under pressure from habitat destruction; it is one of the most fire-prone regions in the world and also one of the places on the planet most impacted by reduced rainfall.

Possible results from this climate change are decreased rainfall, increased extreme weather events, bushfires and coastal erosion, as well as changing patterns of disease.

“Many climate change issues are already being addressed by state agencies, industry and the community – but we can all do better,” said Dawson.