Explainer: A guide to Western Australia’s emissions targets and progress


Western Australia's emissions are significantly influenced by its large mining and natural gas sectors, making it one of the highest per capita emitters among Australian states.

Emissions Trend Over the Last Decade

Emissions have trended upwards in recent years, primarily due to increased LNG production and mining activities, bucking the national trend of reductions.

Comparison with Other States and Territories

On a per capita basis, Western Australia stands out for high emissions, driven by its resource-intensive economy, despite its relatively small population.

Western Australia Emissions Reduction Targets

The state has set less defined emissions reduction targets compared to other states, focusing on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 without interim targets.

Alignment with National and International Goals

The broad goal of net-zero by 2050 aligns with Australia's overall commitments, but the lack of interim targets has drawn criticism for not contributing enough to immediate reduction efforts.

Is Western Australia on Track to Hit Its Targets?

Without specific interim targets and given the recent trend of increasing emissions, assessing progress is challenging, casting doubt on the trajectory towards the 2050 goal.

Key Sectors Contributing to Emissions

The LNG and mining sectors are the largest contributors, followed by agriculture and transport, reflecting the state's economic dependencies.

Characteristics Impacting Emissions and Climate Policies

Western Australia's vast geography, abundant natural resources, and economic reliance on extractive industries shape both its emissions profile and the approach to climate policy.

Key Policies to Achieve Emissions Reduction Targets

  • Renewable Energy: Efforts to increase solar and wind energy capacity, particularly in remote areas, to reduce reliance on diesel.
  • Electric Vehicles: Initiatives to promote EV adoption are nascent, with a focus on expanding charging infrastructure across the vast state.

Challenges in Meeting Future Emissions Reduction Targets

Significant challenges include transitioning the energy-intensive mining and LNG sectors to lower emissions operations and addressing transport emissions across vast distances.

Opportunities for Meeting Future Emissions Reduction Targets

Unique opportunities lie in leveraging vast land for large-scale renewable projects, potential for green hydrogen production, and integrating renewable technologies in mining operations.

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