Victoria back in the game on climate change

Premier_leadership_banner_June_2016.jpgFriends of the Earth has welcomed the Victorian government’s announcement that it intends to take ‘decisive action’ to tackle climate change and re-assert the states leadership role on climate action.

The Andrews government has today released its response to the Independent Review (IRC) of the Climate Change Act (CCA), supporting almost all of the recommendations proposed by the IRC.

“The Coalition government gutted the CCA while it was in power,” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. “As a result, our state lost five years in a decade where the global community had a rapidly closing opportunity to act to reduce emissions and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“It is tragic that we almost have to start again to build the core architecture of our state’s response to climate change.”

“Daniel Andrews has already established his government as being progressive and proactive on a range of key issues like family violence and the huge health impacts of the Hazelwood fire,” said Walker.

“The Premier’s first major intervention on climate change policy is significant because of the key role a re-built CCA must play in re-shaping our economy to be fit for purpose in the 21st century.”

Friends of the Earth are encouraged that the government is linking state policy efforts to the international agreement reached in Paris last December.

“The commitment to working to the 1.5oC target, agreed at the Paris climate negotiations, is a very important cornerstone of the government’s response. This commitment underscores the need for immediate emissions reductions.”

“The test of the government’s resolve to show leadership will come when it releases the re-worked CCA, which is expected later in the year. It is essential that the government ‘front load’ emissions reductions, with much of the heavy lifting being done in the next 10 years.”

Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson said a permanent ban on onshore gas and strong Victorian Renewable Energy Target from the Andrews government would supercharge its climate change initiatives.

“The Andrews government can supercharge its climate change initiatives by adopting a permanent ban on risky onshore gas and setting a strong Victorian Renewable Energy Target,” said Leigh Ewbank.

“A plan to phase out coal power and transition coal communities is now the priority for state energy policy.”

Friends of the Earth say the government’s climate policy will be judged on its ability to drive the transition away from our current reliance on coal and gas. It is essential that the government pursues a ‘zero emissions’ pathway rather than opting for a slower and more dangerous ‘low carbon growth model’.

Friends of the Earth will evaluate the policy on the following measures. Has government policy:

  • Driven down greenhouse gas emissions across the economy
  • Accelerated the transition to 100% renewables and massive roll out of energy efficiency
  • Done its hard work domestically, rather than outsourcing through international offset programs
  • Have a credible and funded transition plan away from coal

“We look forward to working with the government as the final plans are developed and rolled out in coming months,” said Cam Walker.    

 

Further comment

Cam Walker 0419 338 047

Leigh Ewbank 0406 316 176

 

Some media coverage of the announcement:

https://newmatilda.com/2016/06/09/vic-labor-gunning-for-net-zero-carbon-by-2050/

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jun/09/climate-change-victoria-pledges-zero-net-carbon-emissions-by-2050

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/victorian-government-targets-net-zero-emissions-2050