The Act on Climate collective is rested, recharged, and ready for another big year.
Before we fill you in on our priorities in 2019, it's worth noting our impact during the state election year.
Our sustained campaign to hold the Liberal party to account for a head-in-the sand approach to climate change had a huge impact. The absence of a climate policy is considered a key reason why the Coalition haemorrhaged votes in the November election.
In his first press conference, new opposition leader Michael O'Brien noted the need to engage with climate policy and has appointed the Coalition's first Shadow Minister for Climate Change.
In an acknowledgment that our call for investment in climate action is being heard by Labor, Minister for Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio recently announced a $1 million grant scheme for regions to investigate change impacts. Yet a greater level of investment is needed.
Now the dust has settled from the state election we're returning our focus securing bold and ambitious climate action in Victoria.
The Andrews Labor government has announced a $1 million Community Climate Change Adaptation Grants program for regional Victoria, yet Friends of the Earth says the allocation "falls short of community demand."
"Every dollar the state government spends to help communities respond to climate change is a wise investment," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson.
"Yet Victorian communities will need much more then $1 million to cope with the impacts of climate change."
The Federal Coalition government's failure on climate change has seen the country's emissions increase for three consecutive years. This failure leaves Victorian communities exposed to intensifying droughts, heatwaves, bushfires, rising seas, and extreme weather.
Regional Victoria is already experiencing climate impacts. For example, Cape Conran saw a winter bushfire last year and community members have sounded the alarm over the impact of rising sea levels in Apollo Bay and Inverloch.
"With the Federal Coalition failing to act on climate change, we need to see greater leadership from Premier Daniel Andrews and the Labor government."
Environment group Friends of the Earth Australia reject indications that the Morrison government will seek to use public funds to underwrite new coal and gas projects, and say they should be 100% focused on landmark renewable energy projects like the proposed Star of the South offshore wind farm instead.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the federal Coalition have learned nothing from the Liberal party's drubbing in the recent Victorian state election” said Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson Leigh Ewbank.
The Liberal party's support for coal and gas was resoundingly rejected by voters in at the Wentworth by-election and at the November state election in Victoria.
“When community support for action on climate change is on the rise, the Coalition government's support for polluting fossil fuels will go down like a lead balloon” added Ewbank.
While time is running out to act on climate change, the Coalition's obsession with coal and gas only imperils Australia's future.
The United Nations' annual Conference of Party's climate change meeting is now underway in Poland. Seasoned climate activist and citizen journalist has the following report on Australia's performance at Katowice. Originally published here.
It just wouldn't be a United Nations Climate Change conference COP in recent years without Australia at the Fossil of the Day Awards. And this year does not disappoint.
The failure to rule out use of Kyoto carbon credits to meet it's low Paris Agreement 2030 targets while demanding robust accounting and transparency is just too galling. Even best buddy New Zealand reckons, Crikey, using Kyoto credits is just too much.
And watching the Australian ambassador for the Environment on the panel of the US side-event promoting coal the other day...
Friends of the Earth have welcomed the reappointment of Lily D’Ambrosio as Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change, saying a steady hand will guide policy in Victoria while policy chaos continues at the Federal level.
“The reappointment of Lily D’Ambrosio as the minister for climate change and energy is good news for efforts to tackle climate change,” said Leigh Ewbank, FoE climate change spokesperson.
“With climate and energy policy chaos continuing at the Federal level under the Coalition, a steady hand is needed in Victoria to rein in emissions and help Australia meet its international commitments."
Election day is finally nigh, and it's time for a final coordinator update from Leigh, wrapping up the campaign so far. But before that, we have on-the-street interviews with Sam Hibbins, Greens MP for Prahran, and the Labor and AJP candidates for Prahran.
Please note, the opinions of Mark and Climactic are not representative of Act on Climate or Friends of the Earth. In conversation with a Liberal supporter, Mark expressed a willingness to have the argument about nuclear power. This is not representative of the opinion of FoE, and he does not speak as a representative for the group.
Friends of the Earth and the local Ararat Greenhouse Action Group have criticised Liberal MP for Ripon Louise Staley's contradictory position on climate change.
When Ms Staley was asked about whether she accepts climate change science and her party's policy at the Victorian Farmers Federation's candidates forum in late October, Ms Staley stated:
"Yes I do" accept the science of climate change before adding, "I do not support a Victorian renewable energy target. We will abolish that if we come into government."
Friends of the Earth's climate change spokesperson Leigh Ewbank said Louise Staley's acceptance of climate science was welcome, yet said she must be judged on her track record and Liberal party's platform.
"Saying you accept the science of climate change is one thing, yet the true test of Louise Staley's commitment is her voting record and party's platform," said Leigh Ewbank.
"If Louise Staley shared the community's concern about climate impacts then she wouldn't have voted against strengthening Victoria's Climate Change Act and certainly wouldn't scrap the Victorian Renewable Energy Target."
"People are sick and tired of politicians saying one thing and doing another on big issues like climate change."
Our latest podcast is out now, teeing up the last week before the election, and AoC's week of action.
Check out the show here
"This week we get a lot more of the collective members voices in the show, as we all pitch in to discuss how the Head in the Sand action went. As this episode goes up, AoC is about to embark on a week full of actions across Victoria, and you can get involved! Check out the links to get in touch and stay in the loop."
Matthew Guy and the Victorian Coalition announced their intention to build a new ‘baseload’ 500 MW power station if elected at the November state election.
Friends of the Earth say the Liberal party's decision to release an energy policy open to new gas and coal power fails the climate change test when renewable energy is the best option to cut emissions and deliver cheaper power for Victorians.
“We are pleased that the Coalition has finally released its full energy policy. But they have let the Victorian people down by proposing a policy which could have come from the 1950s,” said Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth.
“The energy of the future is renewable. It is extraordinary that the Coalition still intends to overturn the VRET – the state renewable energy target which is driving the uptake of renewables while creating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment.
On Saturday 10 November, around 100 community members have formed a human sign in the shape of the Liberal Party logo on St Kilda Beach to mock Matthew Guy and the opposition’s head-in-the-sand approach to climate change by doing just that: putting their heads in the sand.
Community members concerned about climate change are deeply frustrated that the opposition has failed to deliver a climate policy, with Victoria less then two weeks away from a state election.
"Despite having had four years to come up with a comprehensive policy, Matthew Guy and the Liberal opposition have no plan to rein in emissions and protect Victorian communities from climate impacts if elected on November 24," said Act on Climate spokesperson Anna Langford.