An initial reaction to the Victorian government’s response to the Climate Change Act Review
Friends of the Earth (Melbourne)
March 27, 2012
The details provided in the government’s response is as expected: the state government has been looking for a reason to walk away from the commitments in the Act, and the Review has provided the opportunity.
This is a remarkable double standard given the Coalition supported the legislation while in Opposition. The genesis for the state legislation was the fact that the federal government was taking too long to show leadership on climate change. The subsequent price on carbon and paltry 5% emissions reduction target is not a sufficient response to climate change, yet provides a convenient excuse for the Coalition to walk away from its commitments.
The fine print detail just confirms several long held agendas of the Coalition:
· The desire to destroy the Climate Communities funding initiative of the last government, which provided useful funds to community groups in reducing emissions and for community education projects;
· The desire to remove the ability of the EPA to have a role in regulating carbon. This has been a point of contention back to 2010, when the Coalition raised concerns about the EPA having these powers.
We do not agree with the government’s position that there is no role for State governments to engage in mitigation activities.
While we appreciate that the government response at least acknowledges that there is a ‘risk posed by climate change’, it is bitterly disappointing that the government is happy to shunt off any obligation to take action to national and global spheres.
In contrast, states and similar jurisdictions in other parts of the world have shown leadership by enacting deep emissions reductions targets. Even close to home, government action has lead to South Australia generating more than 20% of its energy production from renewables. If the SA government applied the lazy approach of its Victorian counterpart, this would never have happened.
The failures of the existing Bill are not reason to kill it. The government has taken the easy way out.
It is heartening to see that climate change science reporting requirements will be maintained for use in the Adaptation Plan, as will the guiding principles (outlined in section 7). There is, however, very little else that is comforting for anyone who understands the need for meaningful action on climate change.
Taken with the other policy measures and political actions of the current government, the Baillieu government must be judged as being one of the most anti-environmental governments ever to rule this state.
Our response to this mornings announcement is here: http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=node/1112
Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047
Friends of the Earth. Media release.
Another appalling decision by the Baillieu government
Today’s announcement that the government of Ted Baillieu will walk away from the Victorian Climate Change Act demonstrates a complete failure of vision when it comes to climate change.
“While this had been expected for some time, the fact that the government is prepared to operate without a climate change policy or any meaningful program for action is nothing short of negligent given what we know about climate science” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.
“Taken with it’s wind energy policy, which has already cost Victoria more than $550 million in investment and hundreds of new jobs, this government seems intent on holding an ideological position on climate change regardless of the cost to our state”.
“While the government has effectively abandoned any action to reduce emissions it has indicated that it will maintain an adaptation program. That's like closing down a hospital while keeping the emergency department open: it simply can’t solve all of the problems that a hospital needs to deal with. Equally, a climate Act without emissions reduction measures is meaningless”.
“While it turns its back on climate action, the government has turned a blind eye to the expansion of the coal and gas industries across Victoria, and is doing all it can to facilitate further expansion of the fossil fuel industry. This is a high risk strategy given the backlash that is already happening in these predominantly Coalition held seats. As the Queensland election has shown, Parties that ignore the concerns of core constituencies tend to suffer at the ballot box”.
Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047
on the cost of the Baillieu government wind policy here: