The West Australian Government will develop a new, co-ordinated climate change policy for the State.
Western Australia’s previous climate change strategy, Adapting to Our Changing Climate, was released in 2012 and developed in the context of a national carbon price.
Since then, there have been advances in climate science and changes in national policy.
While it is acknowledged that the Federal Government must lead the way at a national level to address the impacts of climate change, the State Government has a role to play.
Western Australia is particularly exposed to impacts from national greenhouse gas policies because of its energy-intensive, resource-based economy.
The State is also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The south-west is a global biodiversity hotspot under pressure from habitat destruction. It is also one of the most fire-prone regions in the world and one of the places on the planet most impacted from reduced rainfall.
Climate impacts in WA include decreasing rainfall, an increase in extreme weather events, bushfires and coastal erosion, as well as changing patterns of disease – all of which have the capacity to adversely affect primary industries, infrastructure, terrestrial and marine ecosystems and communities.
There are a number of climate-related initiatives already underway in WA, including measures to enhance renewable energy (including renewable hydrogen), strategies to secure our water supplies to offset a significant decline in rainfall (including recycled water and desalination), accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles, and unlock our State’s significant carbon sequestration potential.
A State climate policy will draw together and build on these measures.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Climate Change Unit will co-ordinate the new policy over the next 12 months.