Community members are getting organised and making sure political candidates are engaging with the challenge of climate change in the lead up to the Victorian state election. Melissa Abel, a community climate champion from Bendigo, reports on a recent candidates forum in her region:
In the lead up to the state election at the end of next month, our Australian Conservation Foundation community group in Bendigo have been running a series of “Politics in the Pub” events with our local politicians and candidates, focusing on one party at a time. Bendigo is covered by two state electorates – Bendigo East and Bendigo West, and so we've at times had candidates from both. So far we've had Labor, the Greens and the Liberals.
We are yet to lock in a date with the Nationals, but they – perhaps surprisingly, given the topic of climate change – appear keen so far. As a side note, I asked our Nationals candidate at a different forum why they want to scrap Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) and was told that they don't want to see a “piecemeal, state-by-state” approach to energy policy. Call me cycnical, but to me that looks like an attempt to tear down the states that are actually attempting to do something about climate change...Read more
Originally published at RenewEconomy.
Victoria will go to the polls in a month and the Liberal National Party opposition, led by Matthew Guy, has failed to release a comprehensive climate change policy.
Pressure is mounting on Matthew Guy to show he takes climate change seriously.
Activists in detective costumes have staged actions to search for Matthew Guy’s missing climate policy. In the blue-ribbon seats of Hawthorn and Kew, the Lighter Footprints community group is organising a town hall meeting (featuring Oliver Yates) on the need for climate action.
And then there’s the Wentworth by-election result where the Liberal party suffered a record swing against it.
While Wentworth voters were clearly upset at the Federal Coalition’s leadership turmoil and had a strong independent candidate to vote for, exit polling commissioned by the Australia Institute found that the Liberal party’s primary vote collapsed as a result of inaction on climate change and support for coal.
The same dynamic could play out in Victoria. The opposition’s failure to engage with climate change leaves it exposed.Read more
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.