The countdown to climate action continues.
The Victorian government has until March 31 next year to set the state's first interim Emissions Reduction Targets.
With the shock re-election of Scott Morrison our campaign to secure science-based targets in Victoria is more important than ever.
While a Federal Coalition government will seek to apply the handbrake to climate action, it's worth noting that we've been here before. And we know how to fight under these conditions.
Not long after Tony Abbott was elected in 2013, the Federal government mounted a sustained attack on renewable energy that saw investment drop by 90 percent and thousands of job losses.
In January 2014 we launched our push for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to make the state a safe haven for the sector. Despite the odds, we never gave up. We built a powerful coalition that included communities; unions; renewable energy companies; and environment groups, and we won!
In 2017, the Andrews government enshrined the Victorian Renewable Energy Target in law and ran the country’s largest-ever reverse auction for new solar and wind projects. The scheme will treble the state’s renewable energy capacity, create 10,000 jobs, and cut emissions in the electricity sector by 16 percent.
We’ve made Victoria a safe haven for renewable energy. Now we must make it a safe haven for climate action.
Here's a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
The newly-formed Bass Coast Climate Action Network and Friends of the Earth have joined forces to host a community forum on local climate change impacts.
With dramatic coastal erosion in Inverloch, extreme weather in Cape Paterson making headlines and a recent visit by Climate Minister Lily D'Ambrosio, the event organisers say they want their community to be fully informed about what’s happening here in the context of national and global trends.
Environment group Friends of the Earth welcomes the Andrews government’s funding for the $1.3 billion Solar Homes program and says the $545 million down payment creates a platform for a heavy lift on climate action.
“The Andrews government’s 2019/20 budget delivers for solar and creates a platform upon which it can deliver ambitious action on climate,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth spokesperson.
“With the re-election of the Federal Coalition government, now more than ever Victoria must show leadership on climate change and a just transition.”
The Andrews Labor government must set interim Emissions Reduction Targets by 31 March 2020, release a Climate Strategy the same year, and roll out adaptation plans from 2021.
“A big funding boost is needed to ensure Victoria's efforts to tackle the climate crisis get traction,” said Leigh Ewbank.
“When it comes to tackling climate change, the rubber hits the road at the state level.”
“The community is looking to the Labor government to have vision when it comes to reining in emissions and protecting communities from climate impacts.”
While the government’s investment in solar is a positive outcome for climate action, a shift is still needed in transport.
Victorian Minister for Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio has visited Inverloch—an emerging frontline of the crisis—to survey dramatic coastal erosion from intensifying storm surges and rising sea levels.
Act on Climate can confirm the Minister’s fact-finding trip occurred on Friday May 3 with Jordan Crugnale MP, just days after an ABC News report on Inverloch’s plight featuring the work of local citizen scientist Aileen Vening.
"It’s a relief that what I’ve been recording and talking about for several years is now finding a wider audience," said Vening.
The Victorian Greens have written to Treasurer Tim Pallas to call on the upcoming state budget to deliver for climate and environment.
After a confronting summer in which we have seen record-breaking heatwaves, damaging bushfires, continuing drought, and dramatic coastal erosion in Apollo Bay and Inverloch, the need for governments to ramp up investment in climate action has never been greater.
The countdown to climate action has begun.
The Victorian government has until March 31 next year to set the state's first short- and mid- term Emissions Reduction Targets and we're not wasting any time.
Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate collective is fighting for science-based targets that will get us to zero emissions as soon as possible.
With Australia's emissions increasing on the Federal Coalition's watch, we need the Victorian Labor government to show greater leadership on the climate crisis to help put the country back on track and avoid runaway climate change.
Here's a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
On Wednesday 10 April, Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture, Regional Development, and Resources Jaclyn Symes gave her inaugural address to the Rural Press Club.
Friends of the Earth’s Act on Climate collective was there to see how climate change would feature in the minister’s address. As it turns out, it was high on the agenda.
"We know that while there are parts of rural and regional Victoria doing well, there are other areas who are doing it tough," said Minister Symes.
"This is most prevalent in those areas dealing with drought and dry conditions… And that’s why climate change and drought are driving a lot of my thinking."
"It’s these factors that require me to not only think about my role over the next four years but helping our farmers and their communities set themselves up for the next forty years."
Elaborating on the impacts of climate change in Victoria, Minister Symes noted farming communities had seen drought, fire, flood, storm damage and frost in recent years and said she was “truly shocked” to see the impacts of drought in East Gippsland.
After a confronting summer in which we have seen record-breaking heatwaves across the continent and damaging bushfires in Victoria, community members are looking for governments to show leadership to tackle the climate crisis.
Environment group Friends of the Earth have welcomed news of a large-scale wind and battery hub proposed for a timber plantation in southwest Victoria, saying it could be a key plank of Victoria's efforts on climate change.
“After a confronting summer in which the community has witnessed serious climate impacts including drought, bushfires and flood," said Friends of the Earth's renewable energy spokesperson Pat Simons, "the need to transition away from coal and gas is urgent.”
If the Kentbruck Greenpower Hub gets the green light, the wind and battery storage project could be one of the largest in the country, with a generation capacity totalling 900 megawatts, helping to firm up the power grid while cutting pollution.
Environment group Friends of the Earth Melbourne are pleased to see an new wind farm proposed for the Latrobe Valley and say the project shows state efforts to tackle climate change are gaining momentum.
The group that led the community campaign for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target says the Delburn Wind Farm is a sign the state’s energy sector is in transition.
“Victoria’s energy system is shifting from polluting fossil fuels towards clean renewable energy and it’s good news for efforts to tackle climate change,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s climate spokesperson.
According to proponent OSMI, the Delburn Wind Farm would generate enough electricity to power 200,000 homes, cut Victoria’s carbon emissions by 980,000 tonnes of carbon per annum, and operate for 25 years.