Friends of the Earth Melbourne expresses great disappointment that the Victorian government has deferred setting the state’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets. It is the second time this has occurred.
When the Andrews government strengthened the Victorian Climate Change Act 2017 it introduced deadlines to ensure our state’s response to the climate crisis is swift and steady. It demonstrated a keen awareness of the urgency of the issue when enshrining these deadlines in law.
Since 2017, community members across the state have been calling on the government to set science-based targets that contribute towards the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C.
It is an outcome that would accelerate the rollout of renewables, increase investment in sustainable transport, require greater protection of forests and the natural world, and help protect communities from intensifying impacts.
Community members have sent submissions; signed open letters and petitions; briefed ministers and local MPs; held vested interests to account; organised town hall meetings and street stalls, and participated in iconic human signs to make this positive vision a reality.
Despite our deep disappointment, we understand that the Andrews government has been entirely focused on leading Victoria through a one-in-one-hundred year pandemic. COVID-19 threatens the lives and livelihoods of Victorians and has already, tragically, cost the lives of over 100 people.
Despite our deep disappointment about the delay, we believe it is essential that the Victorian government makes the right decision, not a rushed decision on climate targets.
When it comes to climate policy, we need the Victorian government to make decisions based on the best available science, not in response to political pressure from vested interests.
The Andrews government’s deferral of this key decision will test the patience of community members who have been fighting long and hard for climate solutions.
We believe the state government can reaffirm its commitment to climate justice by taking the following steps:
1. Publicly announce Emissions Reduction Targets before the end of the Parliamentary year (3 December) and deliver a comprehensive climate package in the budget.
2. Establish a $100 million Victorian Climate Change Action Fund. A recent parliamentary inquiry has uncovered the breadth of community efforts to tackle the climate crisis and the need for greater support. This fund will ensure the delay to setting targets does not inhibit action at the community level.
3. Appoint an independent expert to build on the findings of the Combet review and advise the government on the best way to align the state’s recovery with achieving science-based Emissions Reduction Targets.
4. For the Premier and Minister to meet a delegation of community members before making its final decision.
Friends of the Earth will write to the Premier and Minister for Climate Change regarding the matter and follow up with their offices until we receive a response.
The community campaign for science-based targets will continue. We will fight for climate justice for all Victorians.