THE NSW Environment Protection Agency has today released its draft climate plan, which takes an important step forward by putting CO2 in the same bucket as other harmful pollutants regulated by the government.
Under the plan, the EPA would require companies in regulated industries to report publicly on their actual emissions and to design plans to reduce them.
New industry-specific targets would also be set for emissions reduction, so that businesses do their bit to cut pollution in line with the NSW Government’s pathway to net zero.
The plan also includes frameworks for assessing climate risks and emissions for new projects, and would give the EPA the power to crack down on companies that exceed promised emissions limits.
Amanda McKenzie, Climate Council CEO said:
“We welcome the NSW EPA’s leadership on turning government targets for cutting emissions into tangible actions with teeth.
“The NSW EPA has been clear that their new policy is designed to work hand-in-hand with stronger federal laws on pollution – like those that should be delivered through a reformed Safeguard Mechanism – and the inclusion of emissions in federal environmental assessments.
“We need to see this kind of action federally too so that all levels of government are working in tandem to deliver the deep emissions cuts Australia must achieve this decade.”
The draft EPA policy has a significant gap in its treatment of pollution from new fossil fuel projects. Any regulatory process that still leaves the door open to new coal and gas projects won’t deliver on the EPA’s clear, court-ordered duty of preventing climate harms. The final policy needs to be clear that there is no room for new coal and gas if we are to keep global warming within safe limits.
The draft plan will be open for public submissions for eight weeks, and is an opportunity to ensure the EPA implements robust measures, safeguarding Australians and the environment we live in.
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