Climate White Paper a Game Changer

The Victorian government has taken a bold step forward and substantially advanced the climate debate with the release of the final details of its White Paper on climate change.

Friends of the Earth, Media Release, Monday 26 July, 2010

Climate White Paper a Game Changer

The Victorian government has taken a bold step forward and substantially advanced the climate debate with the release of the final details of its White Paper on climate change.

“By announcing an unconditional target of 20% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2020 against 2000 levels, the Brumby government is showing that it is possible to start achieving deep reductions” said Friends of the Earth (FoE) campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.

“Of course, groups like FoE will continue to argue for deeper cuts commensurate with what climate science tells us is required to avoid dangerous climate change.

“In the context of the dismal 5% target being offered by federal Labor, the lack of a carbon price, and the fact that the Victorian Coalition is missing in action on the issue of climate change, Premier Brumby is filling a leadership vacuum,”

The White Paper is a vast improvement on options canvassed in the earlier Green Paper, and builds on the excellent initiatives of recent months, including the Green Jobs package and the ground breaking large-scale solar feed-on tariff”

“These policies – if fully enacted - will mean that our states emissions begin to decline early this decade, allowing Victoria to become a global renewable energy hub and take full advantage of any future action by the federal government, such as setting a price on carbon.

Many of the measures outlined in the White Paper, including improvements to government buildings, increased support for renewables and efficiency, will directly benefit communities in the Latrobe Valley and regional Victoria, and generate many thousands of new jobs statewide.

“To meet the 20% target it will be essential to undertake a full and rapid phase-out of Hazelwood power station. We also call on the government to rule out the proposed new HRL coal fired plant which clearly has no place in the clean energy mix we will require in the 21st century.”

“Many other aspects of this package also deserve recognition, including the commitment to bring average housing stock up to a 5 star standard by 2020.

“We are less impressed by the vehicle offset program, because we believe there are many dangers in carbon offsets. However, if offsets are created in our state – as is outlined in the White paper - there will be a greater ability to manage them properly compared with the well documented problems associated with international offset programs.”

“The promised Climate Change Bill must act as the legislative framework that guides the many good initiatives of the White Paper. The Victorian Bill should be benchmarked on the Scottish Bill which was introduced last year and which is a whole of government Act that commits that country to a 42% reduction in emissions against 1990 levels by 2020. The Scottish Bill shows that short term deep cuts are technically and politically possible”.

For phone interview contact: Cam Walker, FoE campaign coordinator   0419 338 047

Media assistance: Louise Matthiesson        0417 017 844