NSW EPA releases first Climate Change Policy and Action Plan

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has released its historic Climate Change Policy and Action Plan 2023-26, outlining a bold set of actions that will help NSW reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

NSW EPA Chief Executive Officer Tony Chappel said the plan provides a roadmap for how the state’s environmental regulator will address the causes and consequences of climate change.

“This plan means for the first time in Australia, there will be a comprehensive approach around emissions reduction pathways,” Mr Chappel said.

“Using our robust framework, we will treat greenhouse gas emissions like any other pollutant that we regulate and by doing so, support the decarbonisation, transformation and growth of the NSW economy.

“In every corner of the state, we are already feeling the very real, costly and devastating impacts of climate change.

“From unprecedented fires through to recent extensive flood events across regional NSW, each of these disasters is a sobering reminder of the escalating consequences of rising greenhouse emissions.

“We must improve our resilience to the impacts of climate change and this plan will see significant work led by the EPA to achieve this.”

Crucial to the success of the plan will be a collaborative, staged and systematic approach to ensure actions are evidence-based and government programs are joined-up. It’s also important to allow industry sufficient time to adjust to any sector-based emission reduction targets and enforceable licence limits.

As we operationalise climate policy across the economy, the EPA will establish advisory groups for various industry sectors to help inform and co-design actions and subsequent targets.

Mr Chappel said the organisation would not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to setting targets because no two industries are the same, nor are the climate challenges they face.

“Our focus is on enabling and supporting best practice and building collaborative processes which ensure any actions taken by the EPA are meaningful, feasible and cost-effective,” Mr Chappel said.

“To seriously combat climate change, we cannot do it alone and these groups will provide valuable information on gaps, risks and the opportunities that need to be solved or considered.

“They’ll also help NSW capture the immense opportunities that come with a net-zero economy, such as growth in hydrogen, green steel and metals, green ammonia, clean energy, the circular economy and regenerative agriculture.

“The EPA is committed to supporting industry, business, our regulatory partners and the community in transitioning to a more sustainable and prosperous future.”

The final EPA Climate Change Policy and Action Plan are available here.