Strong Climate Act for VIC

When they were in power, the Victorian Coalition gutted the Climate Change Act. Victoria has been without effective climate laws or policies for five years. In that time, the global climate crisis has worsened, Victoria’s emissions have not fallen, the development of renewable energy was halted for almost five years, and the state is behind where we should be in adaptation planning. Globally, we are about to cross  the threshold point of 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The government will shortly announce how they intend to strengthen the Act.

This is our chance to tell the government a renewed Act must start the transition away from coal.

Please sign our petition to the Premier, Daniel Andrews, calling for a strong Climate Change Act with deep, short term emission reduction targets.

 

The Hon Daniel Andrews

Premier of Victoria

Dear Mr Andrews

 

I welcome the release of the Independent Review of the Climate Change Act. The review - and government response - is a critical opportunity for the Andrews government to re-establish Victoria as a leader on climate action.

The Climate Change Authority makes it clear that deep emissions reductions will be required in the short term if the global community is to have a hope of holding overall warming to less than 2°C, and the recent Paris Climate Change Agreement shows consensus that limiting warming to 1.5°C is a much safer limit. With the current slow pace of action, it is clear that the global community will miss the 1.5°C target, unless we take dramatic action now. The window of opportunity to act is rapidly closing and, as the framework legislation guiding Victoria’s response to climate change, an amended Climate Change Act must ensure that Victoria’s emissions start falling urgently.

Victoria has an enormous opportunity to embrace a cleaner, healthier future with widespread social, environmental and economic benefits through its climate policy, but leadership cannot come about through delay.

In responding to the Independent Review Committee’s report, I would like to highlight the four key pillars that I believe needs to be enshrined in the amended Act.

Four pillars for an effective Climate Change Act

1/ Legislated short-term and long-term emission reduction targets which are based on what climate science tells us is necessary, not political expediency

2/ A Climate Charter, including a climate test, applying to all government decisions

3/ A strong framework that drives real emissions reductions

Any plan to reduce Victoria’s emissions must address the 50,000,000 tonnes of CO₂ produced by coal power stations each year. To that end, I support the elements of Recommendations 25 and 26 of the IRC report that would give the EPA the power to regulate CO₂ emissions and to put limits on those emissions. The Act should require emissions intensity standards to be set for existing coal-fired power stations, and those standards should tighten over time to ensure Victoria meets its emissions reduction targets.

4. Accountability, enforceability and transparency

This should include:

  • extended legal standing for the public to bring legal action when there is non-compliance with the Act or the Charter,

  • requirement for each government department to report on climate risks on a regular basis,
  • more prompt reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and
  • the need for both the Premier and the Minister to be held accountable for ensuring Victoria meets its interim and long-term emissions reduction targets.

Ensuring the transition away from coal will require substantial allocations in the state budgets of 2016/17 and 2017/18. I urge your government to continue it’s excellent response to the Hazelwood fires and start meaningful planning for the required transition.

Your response to the Independent Review report will set the course for the government’s legacy on climate change. Having been elected with a promise of making Victoria a leader on climate change, I look forward to the Andrews government now delivering.

Yours sincerely,

 

Cc: The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio

Minister for Environment and Climate Change

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