Rebuilding the Climate Change Act

time_for_transition.jpgThe Victorian government has been releasing a range of positive climate and energy initiatives in recent months (including the Victorian Renewable Energy target or VRET, and announcing a permanent ban on all onshore unconventional gas drilling).

Following an Independent Review of the Climate Change Act (CCA), the government is now re-writing the Act.

Sadly the Coalition government gutted the CCA while it was in power, removing the emissions reduction targets in the Act. As a result, our state lost five years in a decade where the global community had a rapidly closing opportunity to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The re-write of the Act 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.

It should provide a clear mechanism that will lead to a reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. This means there must be enforceable emission reduction targets (ERTs). The government has committed to including enforceable ERTs. The key issue will be whether they are deep enough to start the transition away from coal and towards a future based on 100% renewables. Coal fired power stations currently contribute nearly half of the state’s total greenhouse pollution.

The government will announce an interim target in late 2016 for action between 2017 and 2020. It is expected to announce a target for 2025 next year.

Tell the Premier you want action now

Please sign our petition to the premier calling for deep ERTs for 2020. It is essential we get on with the job of cutting our emissions now – not in another 5 or 10 years.

You can sign the petition here (you will need to insert your preferred targets).

The government has done some great things on gas drilling and renewables. Now we’re getting to the hard part: transitioning rapidly away from our current reliance on coal. Getting the targets right will be a real test for the government.

polling_transition_Q.jpgWhy do we need deep ERTs?

  • Emission reduction targets are a mechanism which will start to drive the closure of existing coal fired power stations (it is essential we keep pressure on to ensure there is active government support for the diversification of the Latrobe Valley economy as this happens).
  • The community wants to see the transition happen. Polling by ReachTel (commissioned by Friends of the Earth) shows there is strong support in the Victorian community for an ‘urgent’ transition away from coal to 100 percent renewable energy.
  • Climate science tells us the transition must happen urgently. According to the latest science, there is no room left to burn further carbon if we want to have a hope of holding overall global warming to 1.5oC. We must get to zero emissions as soon as is possible.
  • The government has two years left in its current term. The short term targets are the only ones they can guarantee they can deliver. Our state cannot afford another 4 to 6 wasted years should the Coalition come to power and continue its anti-environment agenda.

Is it possible?

Other states and similar jurisdictions have already set deep ERTs.

For instance, in California, the Climate Change Act commits the state to a reduction of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

Scotland has adopted a Climate Change Act with ERTs that have driven down greenhouse pollution. Emissions in 2014 were almost 46% lower than 1990 levels as a result of the Act and a range of renewable energy measures.

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