Celebrate Victoria’s climate change act, but we still need to do so much more
The Victorian climate Act has passed state parliament. (See this Storify)
Victoria is back on track taking climate action with the passage of the upgraded Victorian Climate Change Act through parliament with support of the Greens and cross bench MLCs Fiona Pattern (Sex Party) and Western region independant James Purcell. The Liberal and National Parties opposed the Act and have vowed to abolish any Victorian renewable energy target. (See storifys on two of the LNP blockers: Bernie Finn and David Davis)
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said, “Victorians accept the science and know that climate change is not only real, but that government, industry and the wider community must work together to fight it.” Ms D’Ambrosio has been doing an incredible amount of positive work on energy and climate change for Victoria as the Minister.
Victoria becomes the first Australian state to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050. The action was taken note of by the UNFCCC.
On the same day the Climate Change Act passed, the Victorian Government released details of polling of Victorians on attitudes to climate change and climate action. The polling was undertaken by Wallis Research for Sustainability Victoria (Summary and report). It also shows that the vast majority of Victorians expect state and federal government leadership to cut pollution and support renewable energy argued Environment Victoria. Key findings of the survey:
- 91 per cent believe humans contribute to climate change and one third of respondents rank it as one of the top three most important issues facing the state.
- Over three-quarters of Victorians believe that climate change is an urgent issue that needs action now
- Only seven per cent of respondents said there was no such thing as climate change or that natural processes caused it.
- Four in five Victorians are willing to take action on climate change and understand that a proactive approach will reduce energy bills. The majority say that business and industry should contribute to these initiatives.
- 84% of Victorians support the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (which has been opposed by the Victorian Coalition)
- Four out of five Victorians support the Andrews government target of net zero emissions by 2050.
- 93% believe the state government should be acting on climate change (with 48% saying the state government should be leading, and 44% saying the state government should be contributing)
- Four out of five Victorians agree that increases in extreme weather in Victoria are being driven by global warming.
According to a media release from the Premier’s Office, recent major energy projects announced in Victoria include:
- three solar generation projects worth $500m in north-west Victoria with a total output of 320MW and capable of powering Victoria’s three biggest regional centres Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo
- a government contract which will deliver two new wind farms in Mt Gellibrand and Kiata which will bring forward $220 million of new investment and create hundreds of new jobs.
- a 75 MW of new large-scale solar farms in regional Victoria, including 35 MW to power Melbourne’s tram fleet
- a 116 wind turbine project given the go-ahead in western Victoria in December
- $5 million to help up to 1,000 homes cut their energy bills in the Latrobe City, Wellington and Baw Baw Shires, with a further $6 million to fund similar upgrades
- $5 million for large-scale energy storage initiatives to strengthen our electricity system
The Victorian Renewable Energy Target to be legislated later this year will set the targets of 25 per cent renewables by 2020, and 40 per cent renewables by 2025. These are achievable goals. The government is already looking towards balancing renewables intermittency with an initial 20MW battery in either south -west or north-west Victoria.
While these actions are very positive, it only just keeps us in the running for our fair share of the 2C degrees temperature target agreed to in the Paris Agreement.
We need to have phased out all emissions from coal by 2035, according to the Climate institute in 2016.
UK Climate scientist Kevin Anderson argues that industrialized western nations like Australia need to be net zero CO2 emissions by 2035, not 2050.
It’s advice that all our politicians should be taking note of in setting climate policy and climate action. We are really only just keeping our heads above water as the sea levels rise. We need to do so much better.