Draft greenhouse gas emissions guideline released

The EPA has released its draft greenhouse gas emissions guideline following a 12-week round of public consultation earlier this year.

The revised guideline requires proponents of major greenhouse gas emitting projects to show how they can reasonably and practicably avoid, reduce and offset emissions to contribute to the State’s aspiration of net zero emissions by 2050. Read the draft greenhouse gas emissions guideline.

The draft guideline was shaped by the almost 7000 submissions received in the consultation. The State Government’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy, released in August, also helped frame the guideline.

The EPA wants to ensure its greenhouse gas assessment guideline, which is part of a suite of guidelines used for environmental impact assessment, provides an appropriate framework for developing its advice to the state government.

The almost 7000 submissions received during the consultation have been published in an online submission library, along with the key themes raised in the submissions. The draft guideline has been provided to the EPA’s Stakeholder Reference Group for a further round of feedback and while the public consultation period is closed, the EPA remains open to any new information. The EPA intends to release the final guideline in March 2020.

On 7 March 2019, the EPA released its greenhouse gas emissions guideline describing how it would consider greenhouse gas emissions in its future assessment of developments in Western Australia.

These guidelines reflected on contemporary climate science, emissions trends, existing policies and regulation and ultimately, the risks to the Western Australian environment. The release of the assessment guidance was met with diverse public reaction, with concerns including a lack of consultation and the practicability of the EPA advice that might follow from application of the guidelines.

The EPA withdrew these guidelines a short time later and committed to carry out further consultation with the community and industry.

Submissions were invited for a period of 12 weeks which closed on Monday 2 September.

The intention of the EPA’s factor guidelines – including those on greenhouse gas emissions – is to assist the EPA and proponents of significant proposals by outlining the information that may be required as part of an environmental assessment and explaining how that information may be considered by the EPA.

The EPA considers a proponent’s proposed endeavours to avoid, reduce or further offset the environmental impact of its proposed project.

The EPA regularly updates its guidelines across its 13 environmental factors, which are organised into five themes: Sea, Land, Water, Air and People.

The EPA is updating its greenhouse gas guidance to ensure it is current and reflects contemporary climate science, emissions trends, existing policies and regulation, and the risks to the Western Australian environment.

EPA guidelines are not state policy, nor are they binding rules or regulation.

How EPA Factor guidelines are used for the assessment process

10 June 2019 – public consultation opens on our Consultation Hub.

2 September 2019 – comment period closes.

2 October 2019 – public submissions reviewed and published on the EPA website. The EPA considers public submissions and prepares new draft guidelines.

9 December 2019 – new draft guidelines released and provided to the Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) for consideration.

February 2020 – the EPA board considers feedback from the SRG.

March 2020 –the EPA publishes revised guidelines.