Friends of the Earth welcomes $1 million worth of grants to support 13 community-energy projects across Victoria, but say the Andrews government must must scale up funding to match the demand.
"Communities are way out in front of governments when it comes to tackling the climate crisis," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth's climate justice spokesperson.
"The Andrews government's grants for community-energy projects acknowledge this leadership and will create jobs while cutting emissions."
Friends of the Earth say the Andrews government can build on the momentum and create thousands more jobs by establishing a dedicated $100 million Victorian Climate Change Action Fund.
Australian Energy Daily reports Minister D'Ambrosio told a CEDA webinar on Friday (11 Sept) that the Andrews government would set interim Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and '30 by the end of the year:
"Not only will we be setting those interim emissions targets by the end of this year, we will have a budget consideration that goes to the various pledges that we will be making in important sectors that include energy, include transport, industrial processes, agriculture and LULUCF [land use, land-use change, and forestry]," said Minister Lily D'Ambrosio.
"I'm actually looking forward to announcing what our new targets will be for further reductions in emissions as we get closer to the end of this year."
The Minister's public comments are the first to detail a timeline for setting targets since the government announced it had deferred a decision due to the escalating pandemic. The targets were originally expected to be set by March 31 and announced in June.
After the many months of lockdown, the decision to open up Victoria to fossil gas exploration, and the deferral of Emissions Reduction Targets, we finally have some GOOD NEWS:
This week, the Andrews government announced a plan to repower all the state’s schools, hospitals, and metro trains with renewable energy!
The announcement has put even more spring in our step as we continue our campaign for Climate Justice.
Here’s a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
Dear Premier Dan Andrews and the Victorian government,
The Federal government’s failure to tackle the climate crisis leaves Victorian communities exposed to intensifying bushfires, heatwaves, droughts, and sea-level rise.
While the delay in setting Victoria’s first Emissions Reduction Targets is understandable given the circumstances, it must not delay community action on the climate crisis.
Over the last twelve months, a parliamentary inquiry has heard from people across the state who are taking things into their own hands to cut emissions and protect themselves from dangerous climate impacts.
Demand for previous state government grant schemes to support community projects have dramatically outstripped what was available. When we're facing a climate change emergency it's not good enough that positive solutions are missing out on funding.
I call on the Victorian government to establish a Victorian Climate Change Action Fund of at least $100 million. The fund would provide grants to:
- Upgrade public libraries, schools, community centres, neighbourhood houses, and sporting clubs to become Climate Emergency Refuge Centres equipped with solar, batteries, efficient heating and cooling, emergency communications, water tanks, etc.
- Local governments to develop and implement Zero-Net Emissions (Z-Net) plans to achieve zero emissions across all sectors of the economy in ten years.
The deferral of setting Emissions Reduction Targets is testing the patience of community members who have been fighting long and hard for climate solutions.
We believe the Andrews government must take this step to reaffirm its commitment to climate justice.
Friends of the Earth Melbourne's Act on Climate collective officially launched its push to write a People's Climate Strategy for Victoria with over one thousand people watching the online launch via Zoom and Facebook live. The strong level of interest is a vote of confidence in the idea.
Writing a People's Climate Strategy for Victoria to present to the Andrews government later this year is a bold and ambitious undertaking. But shaping the state's first climate strategy is an opportunity that can't be missed.
The Victorian government is required to prepare and rollout a climate strategy every five years out to 2050. Our efforts in coming months will influence the Labor government's own plan (which must be prepared by October 31) as well as all those that follow it.
Friends of the Earth and the Act on Climate collective cant do it alone...
The collective needs your help to ensure the strategy is robust, capable of getting us to zero emissions as-soon-as-possible, and leaves no Victorian behind.
Here are the immediate next steps...
Friends of the Earth welcome Andrews govt funding for climate impacts on the coast, now for deep emissions cuts
Friends of the Earth welcome the Andrews government's announcement of $11 million to help communities respond to climate impacts on Victoria's coastline.
The state government's swift response comes after rising sea levels and intensifying storm surges in recent weeks have damaged infrastructure in Apollo Bay and Inverloch. Beach access points, walking paths, and roads have been affected.
"Coastal communities need all the help they can get when it comes to the challenges posed by climate change," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson.
"Funding from the Andrews government will help communities with immediate responses to the damage caused by rising sea levels and intensifying storm surges."
"Greater funding will be needed to cope with the impacts of climate change on our coastline," added Ewbank.
"When will the Federal government provide funding for communities on the frontline of climate impact?"
Friends of the Earth say that community members are looking to the state government to show greater leadership on climate change while the Morrison government refuses to act.
Friends of the Earth Melbourne has called on the Andrews government to make climate action a focus of the recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic after experts have criticised the Morrison government for pushing for a fossil-fuel-led stimulus.
Community-driven environment group Friends of the Earth have urged the Victorian government to forge its own path and instead embrace new industries and technologies that can make Victoria the national leader on climate action, while creating thousands of jobs.
"Not only does the backward-looking approach of the Morrison government undermine global efforts on climate, but it ties our economic future to out-dated and polluting technology," said Friends of the Earth community campaigner Anna Langford.
"Premier Andrews has already created thousands of climate jobs through legislation such as the Victorian Renewable Energy Target. It can build on this momentum."
It's crunch time for our long-standing campaign for science-based Emissions Reduction Targets in Victoria.
The Andrews government's decision is just weeks away and time is running out to make the case for keeping global warming below 1.5°C.
The summer bushfires and the impact they’ve had on communities, first responders, wildlife and the natural world has shown what’s at stake if we fail to tackle the climate crisis.
And that awareness inspired us to ramp things up in February.
Over the last month, we...
- Brought together Friends of the Earth collectives for the final push on Emissions Reduction Targets.
- Distributed a statement from Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action to MPs on the steps of Parliament.
- Briefed Labor government MPs about the need for targets to help keep global warming below 1.5C.
- Took action on the streets of Melbourne to defend the community’s hard-won moratorium on gas drilling.
- Secured statewide media attention with a human sign on the doorstep of the Premier’s electorate.
- Facilitated a meeting between the Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action and Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.
- Gave testimony to the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into community action on climate change.
- Met with EnergyAustralia to call on them to publicly support science-based targets.
- Secured regional media with a human sign at the iconic Hepburn Wind farm.
- Held market stalls, delivered public presentations, and more.
With less than four weeks left to influence Premier Dan Andrews’ thinking on state Emissions Reduction Targets, we have to take the same level of effort to the campaign in March.
And that’s EXACTLY what we intend to do!
On Wednesday 26 February, Friends of the Earth had the opportunity to present to the Victorian Parliament's inquiry into community action on climate change. Here's Act on Climate coordinator Leigh Ewbank's statement to the Planning & Environment committee:
In my time at Friends of the Earth, I’ve seen the incredible commitment of Victorian communities to tackling the climate crisis.
Friends of the Earth is a community-driven organisation formed in 1974. We have been a strong voice for environmental protection and social justice since then.
We have been engaged on the issue of climate change for over two decades and work towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience through practical programs and advocacy.
Friends of the Earth’s Food Co-op & Café in Collingwood is a case in point. With produce from 150 farmers across the state, the café serves organic, seasonal, and vegan meals to our community every day.
The intentional use of local produce minimises the embodied carbon emissions from excessive transportation. Each year the café serves over 24,000 plates of food including to vulnerable people in the neighbourhood.
The co-op has also pioneered local organic waste composting to demonstrate ways to reduce methane emissions from food waste going to landfill and encourage low-carbon food production.
All compostable waste from the cafe is transported to a nearby primary school, which is only a couple of hundred metres away, where it is composted and used by the students to grow vegetables and educate them about the benefits of urban farming.
In addition to these practical examples, Friends of the Earth has been actively involved in advocacy. Each night of the week, dozens of community members work together on positive solutions.
Victorian opposition leader Michael O'Brien has responded to surging community concern about the climate crisis by announcing a policy shift on the issue, accepting the need for state emissions reductions.
Friends of the Earth says the shift is a positive first step.
Mr O'Brien told The Age newspaper that state Emissions Reduction Targets were necessary in the absence of a "consistent national policy."
The Victorian Liberal leader also called on the Morrison government to set national targets for cutting emissions beyond 2030.