Victorian Climate Change Act sets net zero emissions by 2050

Victoria is back on track taking climate action with the passage of the upgraded Victorian Climate Change Act through parliament with support of Greens and crossbench MLCs Fiona Pattern and James Purcell. Liberal Party opposed the Act and have vowed to abolish any Victorian renewable energy target.

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  1. 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.”
  2. Poll: Climate change urgent issue with overwhelming support for action

  3. The Victorian Government released some details of polling of Victorians on attitudes to climate change and climate action. The survey of Victorians found 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.

    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.
  4. 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. The key findings are:

    *Over three-quarters of Victorians believe that climate change is an urgent issue that needs action now
    * 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, which is to be voted on in Parliament today (and which has also been opposed by the Victorian Coalition)
    * 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.
  5. Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham today said:

    “This polling confirms that the vast majority of Victorians understand climate change is serious and urgent. We can already see climate change unfolding with damaging impacts across the state. Victorians expect their leaders to have a plan to tackle this massive threat to our way of life.

    “The Andrews government’s Climate Change Bill, if passed today, and the upcoming Victorian Renewable Energy Target, are significant reforms that will reduce Victoria’s greenhouse pollution and help us prepare for the impacts of global warming. These are exactly the sort of leadership actions that this poll finds Victorians support.

    “The poll raises serious questions about the wisdom of the Victorian Coalition’s opposition to the Climate Change Act and Victorian Renewable Energy Target. Not only is Matthew Guy’s position on these pieces of legislation irresponsible and reckless, it's also politically unpopular and out of step with Victorian attitudes.

    "Only a tiny minority of Victorians oppose reducing pollution in our economy – unfortunately many of them seem to reside in the Liberal party room.

    “Given the overwhelming support for state government leadership on climate change, Environment Victoria calls on all parties in the Legislative Council to support the Climate Change Bill today. We have a golden opportunity to put Victoria on the path to a pollution-free economy – let’s take that opportunity today.”
  6. Friends of the Earth welcomed the passing of the Victorian Climate Change Act:

    "We commend the Andrews government and all MPs who supported the bill which will help prevent climate change from worsening and prepare communities for the impacts that are now locked in." said Leigh Ewbank, FoE climate spokesperson.

    The Climate Change Act was put in place in 2010 but was gutted by the Baillieu government a year later. Victoria lost almost five years in a decade when the world was running out of time to avoid climate catastrophe.

    "With the Act finally re-built to include greenhouse gas reductions, it is essential we get on with the task of rapidly transforming Victoria's economy away from its current reliance on coal. We do not have any more time to waste," said Ewbank.
  7. Friends of the Earth says the Andrews government can make a downpayment in the upcoming state budget.

    "The Andrews government can follow through on its commitment to climate change action with strategic budget allocations in May," said Mr Ewbank.

    "Victorians overwhelmingly support action on climate change and want to see governments put money where their mouth is."
  8. Friends of the Earth say the passage of the strengthened climate laws is a positive indication for how legislation on Victoria's Renewable Energy Target will fare. "Action on climate change means boosting jobs and investment in renewable energy," said Pat Simons, FoE renewable energy spokesperson.

    "The Victorian Renewable Energy Target will create climate 10,000 jobs and is something crossbench MPs can support."

    The Matthew Guy opposition voted against moves to strengthen state climate policy, just one week after pledging to scrap the VRET if elected. "Matthew Guy's decision to vote against climate policy and vow to scrap the renewables target could relegate the Coalition to the political wilderness," said Leigh Ewbank.

    "Voters reward political parties that act on climate and grow renewables. It's a reservior of support that the opposition cannot tap with its current platform." said Ewbank.
  9. “The Climate Change Act is a clear statement of intent that Victoria will act on climate - however the real work must now begin,” stated Nicola Rivers, Director of Advocacy and Research at Environmental Justice Australia.

    “The government’s priority must be to develop its sector pledges to reduce emissions in the critical areas of energy generation and land use, and to ensure as many decision-makers as possible are required to consider climate change when making key decisions.”

    While the Act could have been stronger in many respects, it does provide a strong platform for government action including emission reduction targets, requirements for decision-makers across different areas of government to consider climate change, and focused work to reduce emissions in key sectors.

    “We are pleased the Government adopted many of the recommendations we made for the Act and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure these laws achieve climate justice for communities and the environment,” Ms Rivers stated.
  10. 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
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