We're back for 2021. And after so much time indoors last year, we're returning to the campaign trail with renewed energy.
This year is shaping up as a turning point for global efforts to tackle the climate crisis. The United States is back in the game and countries will be lifting their ambition at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow.
Here in Victoria, the Andrews government is starting the year with unfinished business on climate. It is yet to set or announce the long-awaited Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and '30—a decision that will determine the pace of Victoria's transition to a clean economy and ability to attract new industries and secure jobs.
It's fair to say we're fired up to secure Victoria's climate targets, so here’s a quick update on our efforts over the last month and upcoming actions...
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.
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...
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 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."
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.
In less than two months, the Andrews government will make its decision on the state’s first Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and ’30. And we’re not wasting a minute calling for ambition.
The summer bushfires and the impact they’ve had on communities, responders, wildlife and the natural world remind us what’s at stake if we fail to tackle the climate crisis.
Here’s a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
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.
Do you want Victoria to be the national leader on climate action?...
Do you think climate policy should be based on science not political expediency?...
Do you want to show the Morrison government what real climate action looks like?...
There’s just ten weeks to influence the Andrews government's decision on state Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and ‘30.
It’s a decision that will set the pace of climate action in Victoria for the next decade and have major implications for energy policy, transport planning, forest protection, and more.
The window of opportunity to influence the decision closing fast so we have to make every day count.
With climate impacts occurring much faster than scientists predicted, the key litmus test for the government is whether the targets help keep global warming below 1.5°C.
Here's what we have in store to demonstrate to strong community support for climate leadership and counter the fossil fuel lobbyists who will be working behind the scenes for loopholes and low ambition.
We’re calling on all community climate champions like you join us on the campaign trail over the next ten weeks so that our call for science-based targets is one that cannot be ignored...