Help change Australia's climate law, in 10 minutes
Posted by Nic Seton
on 1 November 2022
No matter where you live, you can have a say on the NSW Climate Change Policy and Action plan.
This guide will show you how.
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In August 2021, in a landmark legal case brought against the EPA by our friends at Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, supported by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), the Court found that the NSW EPA had not fulfilled its duty to protect the state’s environment from climate change. This was the first time a court has found an Australian government agency is failing in its duty to address climate change and that they must act to address emissions. As a result, the NSW EPA has developed their ‘Draft Climate Change Policy and Action Plan’, which is currently open for consultation.
So that as many of us can have our say in this history-defining moment, the EDO have read through and analysed the draft policy and action plan. They’ve put in the hard yards, so you don’t have to.
Join us in standing with Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, by following their quick and easy guide on how to answer the 3 questions in the EPA’s online survey below. It should take you no more than 10 minutes to complete.
How to have your say - it’s easy:
- Scroll down to find the ‘Have your say’ section on the website
- Fill in your name and email address, and click ‘Next’
- Question 1 - fill out Question 1 with an opening statement and then share your personal story (see below).
- Question 2 – this question is optional. If you want to answer YES then please make some additional key points - see the guide below.
- Question 3 - select ‘Yes’ for Question 3.
Click ‘Next’, and then ‘Submit’
Need more detailed guidance? No worries.
Answering Question 1: Do you have any general comments on the EPA’s draft Climate Change Policy and Action Plan?
Make a positive and supportive opening statement
Start by acknowledging that the development of the plan is a really good start.
Then state ‘but’ you want more to be done. Remind the EPA that their job is to regulate pollution, protect the community and our environment. Ask them to be more ambitious than they have so far, stating the urgency of addressing climate change.
Your story - you want more done to reduce and regulate emissions because …. Add in your personal story, motivation, climate ambition…
- [OPTIONAL] You could also include the following for more details in your general comments under question one…
Introduce emissions reduction targets - suggest that you’d like to see emissions reductions targets that are comprehensive, science-based and legally enforceable within the next 3 years and consistently applied to new and existing environment protection licences.
Strengthen the regulatory approach - suggest that there needs to be a clear point in time that the EPA will escalate the regulatory approach and use their existing regulatory tools to further regulate greenhouse gas pollution.
Answering Question 2: [optional to answer but helpful if you can answer it] What other initiatives or actions should be included in the plan? Why?
You can suggest any topics or ideas relevant to you or your organisation. If you need some ideas, please pick one or several of the ones below.
Note: in this section you can also suggest ‘THE EPA SHOULD WORK WITH XX NSW GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT TO DO…’
Electric vehicles – suggest some ways in which you think the EPA could work with the NSW Government to incentivise EVs (increase charging points, set EV targets, provide subsidies, low emissions zones like they have in the UK etc…)
Electrification of homes – suggest as a way to improve air quality and reduce emissions from gas extraction that the EPA should work with the NSW Govt to increase the electrification of homes (existing gas-based hot water and space heating appliances could be replaced with electric heat pumps, or gas cooking could be replaced with induction technology.)
Develop a plan to phase out the production of coal and gas in NSW - suggest that the government needs to develop a plan for how they will phase out the production of coal and gas in NSW in a way that supports coal and gas workers, and the broader communities whose economies rely on the industry.
Methane regulation - state that methane is one of the most problematic greenhouse gases when it comes to climate change. Suggest that the EPA should develop better measurement methodologies so that industry, in particular the coal and gas sectors can accurately report on their methane emissions. This would allow the EPA to better regulate methane.
Support the uptake of household renewable energy - suggest that investment in household renewable energy production and storage will enable a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Provide ideas for what this could look like (e.g. subsidies for landlords, community solar gardens or batteries that renters can access etc)
Develop a plan to phase out Gas use in NSW- suggest that you would like to see the NSW Government develop a plan to transition NSW off Gas, looking to other state and territories leading the way on this (ACT and VIC) We cannot afford to see GHG pollution continue to increase and gas is a major polluter - we have already seen devastating bushfires and floods throughout the state in the past 2 years alone.
Better community consultation – the plan includes a youth panel and a first nations group. You could suggest that other groups should be included in consultative groups (Climate survivors need to be consulted on the development of resilience programmes, climate scientists, community orgs etc)
Better consideration of emissions for project approvals - suggest that the EPA should work with the NSW Department of Planning to ensure climate change impacts are better considered during the planning and approvals stage and not just regulated once a polluter is up and running.
Future investment - you can also suggest that the EPA work better with NSW Departments to ensure investment in new technologies will help reduce emissions, improve air quality, reduce pollutants in waterways, improve chemical regulations etc.
Thank you for using your voice to make the climate safer for our kids. When you're done, jump onto this Facebook post and leave a comment saying you're "done!"