EDOWA Welcomes the EPA’s New Guidance on Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Today the EPA released its anticipated revised guidance on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from significant new or expanding proposals in Western Australia. EDOWA coordinated submissions with the Conservation Council of WA and The Wilderness Society WA to the EPA in relation to this guidance.

In line with the suggestions we made in our submissions, the EPA has created a new Environmental Factor Guideline that specifically deals with greenhouse gas emissions and has the objective of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and consequently minimising the risk of contributing to climate change. The Guideline and the supplementary Technical Guidance – Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions clarifies what information in relation to greenhouse gas emissions the EPA will require and consider in its environmental impact assessments of proposals under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA).

Importantly, these documents acknowledge that Western Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are substantially increasing and require proposals with significant greenhouse gas emissions to describe:

  • scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions per annum and over the life of the proposal;
  • scope 3 emissions, where there is an established link between the proposal’s activity and these emissions and they will be relatively large;
  • proposed measures to avoid emissions through best practice design and benchmarking;
  • proposed continuous improvement measures to reduce emissions over the life of the proposal; and
  • proposed measures to offset all residual (net) direct emissions associated with the proposal.

They also require these proposals to publicly report their emissions intensity performance and measures implemented to minimise or offset greenhouse gas emissions over the project life. It states that this “will provide assurance to the community about the progress of undertakings (including offsets) made by proponents during the review phase, support data availability and best practice benchmarking, and ensure that commitments in relation to performance standards are being met”.

Advice and recommendations by the EPA following these assessments are considered by the WA Government in deciding whether to approve major developments in Western Australia.

EDOWA welcomes the EPA’s revised guidance, which represents a positive step in reducing Western Australia’s emissions and tackling climate change.