Australia's only state to set 2030 target

Australia's only state to set 2030 target

Western Australia is the only state to be the only state to set an emissions reduction target for 2030, despite the most extensive efforts to bring its carbon output down.

In a statement released by Climate Action Minister Reece Whitby earlier this year, he said the government would be required to set interim targets every five years to establish the path to zero emissions by 2050.

But plans released this week as part of a four-week consultation window show the first statewide target would only need to be set for 2035 - more than a decade from now.

Climate activists have expressed their concerns at the move, saying that Western Australia must establish a clear 2030 goal to ensure it starts reducing its emissions quickly enough.

Every state other than WA has already established emissions reduction targets for 2030, ranging from a 30 percent drop from the baseline year of 2005 to being completely net zero.

Critics of the government's plans say Western Australia needs a firm target more than anywhere else because it is the only state to be emitting more than it did in 2005.

WA's emissions were four percent above its 2005 emissions, while Queensland was down 29 percent and Tasmania marked its ninth year as carbon-negative.

Under the government's plans for the legislation, an 'emissions budget' will be set for each five-year period between 2030 and 2050, but a 'point target' for a specific year won't be required until 2035.

But it does not address the bulk of the state's emissions, which are produced by the resources sector.

Whitby did not answer why WA would not legislate a 2030 target in response to questions from the ABC, but said climate change is the greatest challenge of our lifetime and highlighted Labor's commitment to achieving an 80 per cent reduction in state government emissions by 2030.

Whitby said the target was formalised with the new legislation, but said the state would need Commonwealth assistance to bring major emitters into line.

Mr Whitby, who chaired the group, said: 'It is important that we invest a lot of money to make decisions that benefit the people on a daily basis,' he said.

The Safeguard Mechanism has been in place since 2016 and requires Australia's biggest greenhouse gas emitters to maintain their emissions below a limit.

Jess Panegyres, head of energy transition, said it was disappointing WA was being left without a 2030 target because it could help give industry the confidence to invest in green projects.

Having climate action around the world and around Australia is that the faster you start, the easier it is and the better you see the benefits.

The government also failed to make the legislation enforceable, said Ms Panegyres.

s what federal legislation has, and we would love to see that in WA too, she said.

The environmental protection authority will be largely responsible for making the targets a reality through its current functions, Mr Whitby said in a statement.

But Ms Panegyres said she remained concerned that Woodside's Burrup Hub in WA's north could still undermine the effectiveness of the targets because of the hundreds of millions of emissions it is expected to release over its lifetime.

By implementing activities like planting trees and investing in carbon offsets, Woodside's climate plan aims to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030 on its way to net zero by 2050.

Last year, the minister of Federal resources, Madeleine King, told the ABC that Woodside had guaranteed the WA government it would implement 'appropriate offsets' for the project.