In a nation-first, NSW will have transport companies, miners, manufactures and electricity producers take on the majority of the responsibility to cut emissions.
The NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA) will target around 50,000 companies to ensure they are reducing emissions as fast as possible.
The EPA said it wants to emphasise the opportunities for businesses in decarbonising and plans to toughen its approach by imposing hard carbon limits as a condition of company operating licences.
Details of the plan are set to be released on Friday and are designed to compliment the Federal Government’s measures to curb industrial emissions that were announced last week.
NSW EPA chief executive Tony Chappel described the move to include carbon in its regulatory framework as a “paradigm shift” in the way it engages with industry.
“This is the first regime nationally that takes a comprehensive approach to managing greenhouse gasses down to safe levels in the same way as we treat other pollutants,” Chappel told The Australian Financial Review.
The EPA will now set up sectoral advisory groups to “go business-by-business and site-by-site” in coming months to determine how much carbon needs to be removed and plan ways of transitioning.
“It’s very clear to us that regulating the environmental damage is one side of the coin, but the other side, which is at least as important, is making sure industry can grasp the opportunities of these new growth sectors that are starting to flourish now,” Chappel said.
The overhaul was triggered by a 2021 court decision finding that the agency has a duty to protect the environment and community from harm caused by climate change.
The EPA aims to “nudge” businesses that are not yet thinking about decarbonisation to get started and think hard about their own resilience to climate change.