Community members respond to record global heat

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New analysis has identified 2017 as the world's hottest year without an El Nino boost and confirms the hottest five-year period on record. 

The findings have alarmed community members from country Victoria who want to see more leadership on climate change from state politicians. 

Ballarat resident Sandra Hawkins said "another record hot year means we need to reduce emissions as a matter of urgency."

"We’re talking temperature increases that affect food production, transport systems, survival of ecosystems we’re dependent on, the effectiveness of health and emergency services, and habitability of whole areas," added Sandra Hawkins.

Stawell resident and father Thomas Parkes said the findings represent "a concerning trend for future generations."

"We need politicians to start investing in climate action to protect our children rather than engage in political point scoring and fear mongering," added Mr Parkes.

The climate data raises a key question for Ararat local Carolyn Gemmell: 

"How long can we keep going down this track of record high temperatures before we change our behaviour, and who will drive this behaviour change, the individual acting in isolation or government leading the people?" 

Hannah Bucknall of Maryborough is not surprised by the findings and is concerned about impacts in her region: 

"We've already seen hot and dry conditions so it wouldn't be surprising if there were more bushfires before the end of the season"

The Maryborough, Ararat, and Stawell regions experienced the driest June on record and Victoria is facing a heightened risk of bushfire this summer. These impacts are inline with the scientific projections of climate change.

The latest data is cause for concern and underscores the need for urgent action to tackle climate change. Unfortunately, recently released data shows national emissions are increasing and that Australia will fail to meet the emissions cuts under the Paris climate agreement.

With the Federal government failing on climate change we need to see more leadership at the state level.

In 2018, the Andrews government will set Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and 2030 as required under the strengthened Climate Change Act 2017. These interim goals are stepping stones for Victoria to meet the legislated target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Premier Daniel Andrews can show leadership by trumping Turnbull's meagre climate goals. Victoria can get Australia back on track by setting targets that are more ambitious than the federal government's and in line with the global goal of 1.5°C. 

Victoria can also supercharge efforts to rein in emissions and protect communities from impacts with a state budget focused on climate action. 

Each town, district, and community faces its own challenges and has its own vision for how to respond to climate change. The thing that unites them, though, is the need for state government support. That's why we're calling for Victoria's first climate budget.

In 2018, the public expects the government and opposition to have detailed plans to rein in emissions and protect communities from climate impacts.

The Matthew Guy opposition has been quiet on climate change to date. Yet the community expects it to publicly release a policy well before the November 24 election. With a focus on law and order, the Liberal party can easily commit to uphold the state's climate change laws.

Friends of the Earth will be working with community members across Victoria region who support strong climate change policies throughout 2018.

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