Western Australia really needs the clean energy economy

WA has a ‘lot to lose‘ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/latest/wa-has-a-lot-to-lose/story-e6frg90f-1226873306480 APRIL 03, 2014  West Australia stands to lose a great deal in terms of economic growth and quality of life as a result of inaction on climate change, according to a paper released today by Businesses for A Clean Economy.

The group – an alliance of the Carbon Markets Investors Association, the Clean Energy Council, the Climate Institute, the Investor Group on Climate Change and the WWF – said the state’s long term economic resilience and prosperity depend on national policies that factor in carbon pricing, regulation and catalyse private sector finance and investment.

Complementary measures such as the RET and energy efficiency programs, can provide for a decarbonised, productive and balanced growth pathway for WA’s economy.

WA and the Clean Economy” highlights for Western Australia the specific impacts, costs of inaction and the economic opportunities in relation to climate change across a range of economic and environmental factors including employment, tourism, agriculture, and lifestyle and quantifies the risk of complacency and inaction.

Risks – key points

  • Significant risk to WA coastal infrastructure due to WA’s sea levels rising at twice the global average;
  • A 30% yield loss by 2050 due to WA’s drying trend (already causing a 43% reduction of wheat and winter crop production across the southwest wheat belt in 2010- 11 compared to the previous season).
  • Threats to WA’s attractiveness as a tourist destination due to the loss of marine biodiversity caused by continued increases in oceanwater pH levels.

“The risks to Western Australia from inaction on climate change are alarming, more so because it is clear that reasonable policies could not only reduce the negative environmental impact but importantly provide WA with considerable opportunity and economic benefit,” said Kirsten Rose, CEO, Sustainable Energy Association of Australia.

“To unlock the opportunities in Western Australia business needs a long term, stable, cost effective policy that can achieve long term emission reduction targets now and facilitate the transition to a competitive low carbon economy”.

Opportunities – Key points

  • 4500 new direct WA jobs created by the renewable energy sector by 2030;
  • Identified opportunities for WA clean investment in new jobs in manufacturing, retail and agriculture as well as energy;
  • Investment in WA’s regional economies due to abundant renewable energy resources (8% of WA’s produced energy being already being renewable)

“Western Australia’s access to the world’s best renewable resources; sun, wind, marine provide the opportunity for WA to lead low carbon growth, attract ongoing investment and create jobs,” said Kirsten Rose.

“WA has significant scope to further diversify the state’s economic development as well as efficiently reduce its emissions and accelerate the transition to a clean economy,” said Ms Rose.
“Business for a Clean Economy are calling for a return to bipartisan support for a market- based price mechanism linked to international markets, to provide greater certainty for business and stimulate investment in new technologies,” said Andrew Petersen, CEO, Sustainable Business Australia.

The B4CE (Businesses for a Clean Economy) Initiative was formed in 2011 by The Carbon Markets Investors Association, the Clean Energy Council, the Climate Institute, the Investor Group on Climate Change and the WWF. Sustainable Business Australia is the B4CE Secretariat. The Initiative has over 400 signatories from a broad range of business and industry sectors. (www.b4ce.com.au)

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