Over 150 Victorians rallied outside the offices of EnergyAustralia on Monday 7 October showing their frustration with the company's public comments on state climate and energy policies.
Community members sent a clear message to EnergyAustralia, the owner of Australia's most polluting coal-burning power station: "Get on board with Victoria's efforts to tackle the climate crisis or get out the way."
The protest comes following the latest IPCC report which paints a disturbing picture of climate damage. Sea levels could be 110cm higher in 2100, and extreme events will hit the coast once a year by 2050. The report underscores the need to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
The action began with a speech from Bass Coast resident Mat Morgan. Mat has seen coastal erosion first hand with his local beach in Inverloch losing 43m of shoreline since 2012—putting the surf lifesaving and a local road at risk.
Campaigners from Friends of the Earth and Environment Victoria made the case for cutting pollution, investing in renewables, and taking bold and ambitious action on climate.
Once speaker noted that EnergyAustralia (formerly know as TRUenergy) received $266 million compensation when the national carbon price was introduced in 2012. It kept the kept the money despite the fact the carbon price was repealed. Friends of the Earth say this money should be returned to cut emissions and help communities cope with climate impacts.
The snap action was called in response to EnergyAustralia's recent actions that undermine Victoria's efforts to rollout renewable energy and tackle the climate crisis.
The Andrews government has six months to set Victoria’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets.
We have a tight timeframe to influence the Andrews government’s decision, but we have momentum. The Emissions Reduction Targets have been our central focus in 2019, and we have plenty to show for it:
- Hundreds of supporters emailed key Cabinet ministers;
- a new ally in the Bass Coast Climate Action Network;
- over 2,500 submissions to the government;
- dozens of media stories including The Age and ABC News;
- a packed-out forum in Inverloch;
- over a dozen meetings with MPs and key advisors; and,
- hundreds of emails to the Premier since the Climate Strike.
Our campaign for Emissions Reduction Targets that keep global warming below 1.5°C comes amid an unprecedented display of community power on climate. Well over 150,000 people joined the September 20 Climate Strike led by school students.
Marches in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Wonthaggi, and other towns demonstrate there’s widespread support for governments to rule out new fossil fuel projects, deliver 100 percent renewables, and ensure a fair and just transition for workers.
Here’s a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate collective is proud to have some School Strike 4 Climate Action people in our network. Here's a message they've written for our supporters across the state:
Cindy, a school striker, and Lucinda from Friends of Earth's Act on Climate collective here. We officially invite you to the Global Climate Strike on September 20!
The Federal government is failing embarrassingly on climate. Australia's carbon emissions are at a seven-year high and our government wants to open to new coal, gas, and oil projects! Whaaat?
We are in a climate crisis.
Greenland is melting and the Amazon is on fire. And just look into our backyard - last summer we saw record breaking heatwaves and increased bushfires; NSW is in Drought; and Inverloch, Victoria has seen more than 30 meters of coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels.
The mining and burning of fossil fuels is the number one cause of climate change. If we continue to burn fossil fuels, the IPCC says we will see increasingly 'catastrophic impacts.'
So three days before the emergency UN Climate Action Summit takes place, School Strikers are calling on workers to put down tools and students to put down their books and join them on September 20!
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reached a seven-year high in August. It’s the latest sign of the Federal Coalition’s failure to tackle the climate crisis.
Victoria must show greater leadership while the likes of Scott Morrison and Angus Taylor are at the helm in Canberra. If our state acts with speed and ambition, we can put the country back on track.
The Andrews government will soon make a decision about the state’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets. It is an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to protecting communities and the natural world from dangerous climate impacts.
In August, we saw the bill to increase the Victorian Renewable Energy Target pass through the lower house of Parliament; the Solar Homes rebate was doubled to keep up with strong demand; and we celebrated the third anniversary of the permanent ban on unconventional gasfields.
Victoria has momentum when it comes to cutting emissions. It’s time to pick up the pace and bring them in line with what’s needed to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
Here's a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
A Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into community action on climate change is now underway.
The Environment & Planning Committee is investigating the full range of community efforts to tackle the climate crisis to gain insights into the ways in which the government can support them.
The inquiry will have no trouble finding examples of leadership in Victoria. Communities have shown incredible resolve, ingenuity, and creativity for well over a decade.
In all corners of the state one can see inspiring examples of local activism: info nights, market stalls, radio shows, podcasts, community energy projects, citizen science, tree planting, art projects, community gardens, candidates' forums, policy work, and advocacy.
Here are seven ways the Victorian government (and opposition) can supercharge the community response...
Friends of the Earth Melbourne welcome the Andrews government announcement it will today introduce legislation to increase Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to 50 percent by 2030, saying its a clear step forward for the state’s energy transition that will create thousands of climate jobs.
“Every time Victoria increases its renewable energy target, the state will benefit from new jobs and investment in climate action” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s renewable energy spokesperson.
It is predicted the increased VRET will generate thousands of jobs across the state, and secure and additional $5.8 billion in investment by 2030.
“Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target has been critical in kickstarting the sector after years of failure on the climate crisis by the Federal Coalition” added Simons.
“If we are going to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we need to build an energy system powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and this announcement takes Victoria one step closer to that outcome” said Simons.
The owner of Australia's dirtiest power plant, EnergyAustralia, has taken to the Murdoch press to sook about state climate and energy policy.
The company is claiming that its power plant in Yallourn might close prematurely due to Emissions Reduction Targets and Victorian Renewable Energy Target.
In reality though, EnergyAustralia's Victorian coal power plant will close from old age and its inability to compete with new technology entering the grid.
As research from The Australia Institute demonstrates, Victoria's brown coal power plants are the most unreliable generators in the country.
“Victoria’s coal power plants are responsible for the highest number of breakdowns in the country, putting the state’s electricity supply at serious risk,” the Australia Institute's Richie Merzian told RenewEconomy in June.
“It’s worrying that Victoria’s heavy-polluting coal plants already struggle to consistently supply the state and climate change will only increase the difficulty with more days of extreme heat and higher demand.”
“Across the national grid," Merzian added, "Victoria’s aging coal-fired power stations are the most likely to fail and Victorian’s felt this first-hand in January this year when many were forced into blackout.”
The countdown to climate action continues. The Andrews government has less than eight months to set the state’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets.
With climate deniers in the Federal Coalition and Murdoch media stalling climate action at the national level, now more than ever we need to see greater leadership in Victoria.
Friends of the Earth’s Act on Climate collective is leading the community campaign for science-based targets that keep global warming below 1.5°C.
If we can get Premier Dan Andrews and the Labor government to commit to bold and ambitious targets, then we can lock in the rollout of renewable energy and set the scene for iconic projects like Star of the South—the offshore wind farm proposed for Gippsland.
Here's a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
The Victorian Parliament’s Environment & Planning Committee has announced an inquiry into community climate action. It will investigate what urban, regional, and rural communities are doing to tackle the climate crisis and how the state government can support them.
The inquiry comes as the Andrews government resumes its decision-making on Victoria’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets and will set the scene for the forthcoming state Climate Strategy.
Friends of the Earth welcome the Environment & Planning Committee’s inquiry and say it will allow Members of Parliament to grasp the full scope of the community’s efforts.
“Communities across Victoria are leading when it comes to tackling the climate crisis,” said Act on Climate coordinator, Leigh Ewbank.
“Communities from Portland to Mallacoota and from Yackandandah to the Bass Coast are showing incredible commitment to cut emissions and cope with the impacts of a changing climate.”
“It’s time for Victorian Parliamentarians to catch up with the community and put their shoulder to the wheel.”