Due to the Federal Coalition government’s continued failure on climate action, state and territory governments must step up and lead.
The Victorian government has the opportunity to establish itself as national leader on climate change by setting ambitious Emissions Reduction Targets (ERTs). The importance of these targets was articulated by renowned environmentalist Paul Hawken at the recent Climate Change Drawdown Summit in Bendigo.
Mr Hawken was visiting Australia to promote his new book, Project Drawdown: the Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. On the 22nd of February, the Bendigo Sustainability Group hosted to Mr Hawken in an evening dedicated to discussing economy-wide carbon abatement solutions and how to move towards the new, low-carbon economy.
Act on Climate Coordinator Leigh Ewbank attended the event and used the opportunity to shine the spotlight on Victoria’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets (ERTs) for 2025 and 2030. An independent panel chaired by Greg Combet is now preparing advice for the government on the targets and is now taking submissions from the community. Leigh asked whether Mr Hawken had any advice for Daniel Andrews’ Government as they propose these targets that will be legislated as part of the Victorian Climate Change Act 2017.
In response, Mr Hawken outlined the need for ambitious targets as they set an example for all Victorians to follow. He told the audience “when you make the goals audacious and bold and encompassing and great, it makes people great and bold and audacious and encompassing.” If the Andrews government sets bold, courageous targets, it can drive innovation in Victorian businesses, organisations, and communities as they strive to reach these goals.
"Hands up if you want ambitious ERTs": Community members at the Bendigo event
Mr Hawken also implored governments not to let their targets limit them from doing more. He pointed to Nova Scotia as an example, where the province has already eclipsed Canada’s 30 percent emissions reduction target to 2030 but is committed to making further progress. Taking a lead from Nova Scotia, Victoria should not just aim to reach its target, but to “blow it up” and commit to drawdown emissions (when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to decline).
Given the climate impacts that are already being seen in Victoria, it is time for Victorian politicians to heed Hawken’s advice and commit to strong climate action. They can do this by setting ambitious ERTs and committing to a climate-focussed state budget to provide long term investment in climate change solutions.
Act on Climate is dedicated to ensuring strong climate action for Victorian communities. If you would like to get involved or help us out please take action below.