What role might climate change play in the upcoming state election? Peter Gardner, a community climate champion from East Gippsland, explores. The following article originally published at Peter's blog.
Melbourne University energy hub senior adviser Simon Holmes à Court has been asking politicians and would be politicians a simple question on climate change. Some time ago he asked Liberal candidate in the Mayo by-election Georgina Downer “can you please let us know whether you accept the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming?” More recently he has asked the same question of the Liberal candidate in the Wentworth by-election David Sharma, with, so far, no response. Simon has then publicised the response or non-response to his followers on twitter.
Following Simon’s example I decided to ask the same question to candidates in the five Gippsland electorates starting with Gippsland East. Although still 50 days from the election it soon became obvious that this was an exceedingly difficult task and that I should concentrate on Gippsland East. So far I have asked the question of the five known candidates in the electorate and all have responded.Read more
What role might climate change impacts play in the upcoming state election? Peter Gardner, a community climate champion from East Gippsland explores. The following article originally published at Peter's blog.
I have briefly examined the electoral prospects across Gippsland for climate candidates here. I concluded that given the right conditions all of the seats are vulnerable to strong candidates – Independents in the south and east, Labor in the west with Morwell ‘up for grabs’. Whilst the south and the east are probably safe for the Nationals conditions and the climate may go against them.
Victoria will go to the polls in less than two months. Community members concerned about climate change impacts are still waiting for opposition leader Matthew Guy and the Liberal party to release a policy to tackle climate change.
Matthew Guy will give a high-profile address on Victoria’s economic future at the Committee for Economic Development Australia in a fortnight. This speech is an opportune moment for the opposition to lay out its plan to rein in emissions and prepare our economy for climate impacts.
(Indeed, a speech on the future of Victoria’s economy that failed to acknowledge climate change would be shortsighted and a failure of political leadership.)
Polling shows that Victoria—Australia’s most progressive state—is ready for climate action. An in-depth study commissioned by Sustainability Victoria found that:
- 91 percent of Victorians accept some level of human causality for climate change
- 30 percent rate climate change in the top three issues facing the state
- 78 percent think climate change is an issue that requires urgent action now
- 84 percent support state Renewable Energy Targets
- 9 in 10 Victorians believe the state government should be taking action on climate change
- 8 in 10 want to live in a state that is leading on climate change
To date, the Labor government and the Greens have out performed Matthew Guy and the Coalition on climate action.Read more
We have the solutions to climate change. Humanity has known for decades that the burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gas into the atmosphere which drives atmospheric warming and worsens events such as droughts, bushfires, damaging storms, and rising sea levels.
In knowing the cause of climate change we have developed the solutions such as renewable energy technology, methods to restore and preserve carbon sinks, and sustainable economic models.
We have the solutions to climate change, however what Australia has lacked in the past is the political will to enact them. Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate collective is seeking to change this with the campaign for Victoria's first Climate Budget.
With a modernised state budget, Victoria can invest in the comprehensive actions we know we need to take to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts, such as intensifying bushfire seasons.
This blog presents a brief overview of the state budget, environmental funding, what a Climate Budget would look like, and why it's sorely needed.Read more
With alarming melting of the polar icecaps underway, back-to-back bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, and Australia seeing a longer and more intense bushfire season, we have no time to waste when it comes to action on climate change.
Yet Australia's emissions are rising and funding for climate change initiatives has been slashed on the Federal Coalition government's watch. The policy failure leaves communities exposed to intensifying heatwaves, bushfires, droughts, and extreme weather.
It's time for Premier Daniel Andrews to push back on the Turnbull government and show leadership on climate change.
In 2017, the state Labor government established the $4.3 million Victorian Climate Change Innovation Partnerships (VCCIP) Grant Scheme to help community groups, local councils, businesses, and non-government organisations rollout innovative climate solutions.
But there's a problem... Demand for the climate grant scheme dramatically outstripped what was available.
The Act on Climate collective and community members took the case for climate action to the Victorian Parliament on World Environment Day 2018—presenting the government, opposition, and the Greens with a community statement calling for leadership.
The statement calls for party leaders—Premier Daniel Andrews, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, and Samantha Ratnam (Greens)—to consider the community's views and provide a response.
A few weeks earlier, on April 22, over fifty community members participated in a discussion about climate impacts, brainstormed positive solutions to the issue, and formed unanimous agreement on the need for Victorian political parties to take urgent action.
The ‘crowd-sourced’ ideas formed the basis of the statement which was handed over to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio; Minister and member for Albert Park, Martin Foley; Greens MP for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell; as well as Liberal party shadows for energy and environment, David Southwick and Nick Wakeling.
The supporters who joined us to handover the statement shared powerful testimony about their concerns regarding climate impacts with the Parliamentarians.
Deputy Premier and Emergency Services Minister James Merlino has told a parliamentary inquiry that climate change is putting an increasing strain on Victoria's emergency services such as firefighting.
"Climate change is real and it's having an impact on our emergency services," Mr Merlino said.
In statements to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, the Minister noted that Victoria's bushfire season is starting earlier, lasting longer, and becoming more intense from climate change. These factors are making it challenging to manage the aviation fleet of large tankers that are also used in the northern hemisphere.
Friends of the Earth commend the Deputy Premier for his frank comments about the real impacts of climate change.
"It's refreshing to hear Deputy Premier James Merlino's honest comments about the impacts of climate change," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate coordinator.
"Mr Merlino's comments underscore the need for urgent action to tackle climate change."Read more
Environment group Friends of the Earth says big ticket items to tackle climate change and protect Victoria’s environment are the “missing piece of the puzzle” in budget 2018/19—a disappointing one for the environment.
The Andrews government’s allocation towards climate change and environment is down from last year’s budget--from $798 million in budget 2017/18 to $266 million this budget cycle.
"With climate change impacts becoming more and more obvious, it’s disappointing to see the Andrews government’s 2018 budget fail to deliver big ticket items for climate change and environmental protection," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth spokesperson.
“The community is looking to the Labor government to have vision when it comes to our environment—such as by establishing the Great Forest National Park and championing the rollout of renewable energy.”
Friends of the Earth say the downward trajectory of environment-related expenditure is a sign the budget process is failing to account for climate change:
"While the government in planning ahead when it comes to education, health, and infrastructure, it’s failing to plan ahead for the great challenge of our time—climate change,” said Leigh Ewbank.
Community members gather in St Kilda to break the radio silence on climate change and call for action
Over fifty community members from the City of Port Phillip and surrounds gathered in St Kilda on Sunday April 22, to celebrate Earth Day, break the radio silence on climate change, and call for politicians to act.
The event--organised by community environment group Friends of the Earth and supported by the Port Phillip Ecocentre--drew a strong crowd of locals who spent the day developing an Earth Day Statement calling on Victorian politicians to act on climate change.Read more
Climate change will significantly alter the life and culture of human societies. Australia is no exception.
When we consider climate change on the global level we begin to see overall trends, but it is easy to lose sight of the local detail. For example, we know that, globally, 2016 was the hottest year on record but we must ask what this means for local communities and landscapes.
It is clear that these global changes will play out locally.
In central and northern Victoria, it is important that we understand how climate change will impact on our future, so we can plan for it. As a trend, annual rainfall has significantly decreased in the region and the average temperature since 1950 has already increased by between 1 and 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Based on projections provided by the State of Victoria, it is clear that the Loddon and Mallee regions will be a hotter and drier place than they have already become. These changes will involve significant challenges for people living in the north of the state.Read more