Licensing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Western Australia

Olivia De Koning, Helena Nguyen, Alex Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The past and current practice in Western Australia has been not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) by licences issued under Pt V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) because such emissions do not cause pollution or environmental harm. This view should be reconsidered in light of the post Paris Agreement characterisation of GHGe and because the Environmental Protection Amendment Act 2020 (WA) inserts a new s 74A(2) providing that "[a] licence does not authorise an emission unless the emission is specified in the licence as an authorised emission". The amendment may affect the scope of the key defence to the offences of causing pollution and environmental harm; that of acting "in accordance" with a licence (licence defence). It is arguable that Pt V licensees with substantial GHGe may need to apply for licence amendments specifying the extent of those emissions to secure the licence defence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2021


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