Media Releases | 21st Jul, 2004

Victorians must act now to curb climate threats

Thursday, 22 July 2004

Victorians must reduce their power and water use if the state is to weather the onset of global warming and its costly effects, the state’s peak conservation group has warned.

The warning follows today’s launch of the Bracks Government’s Adapting to Climate Change paper, which Environment Victoria (EV) said stood as an early warning, allowing time to minimise the expected threats.

EV’s Global Warming Campaign Director Darren Gladman said the threats would be minimised only through a serious reduction in greenhouse emissions, particularly a reduction in coal-fired power.

“Victoria is one of the worst greenhouse polluters in the world, per person, because we are reliant on brown coal, the most greenhouse polluting way to produce energy. If we are to reduce the threat of man-made global warming then we must reduce our dependency on fossil fuels,” he said.

“We must also reduce our energy use and source our power from renewable energies. If we don’t voluntarily adopt these measures now, global warming will force us to.”

Healthy Rivers Campaign Director Dr Paul Sinclair said water use must be reduced.

“The paper shows Victoria’s weather will permanently change with more droughts and El Ninos. We therefore have no choice but to use water as wisely as possible,” he said.

Dr Sinclair said the costs to the community from global warming were enormous.

“Farmers, recreational and commercial fisherman, the tourism industry and even the average householder will all bear the costs – in heartache and in the back pocket.”

Mr Gladman said according to scientists if we don’t act swiftly in the next 10 to 15 years we have ruled out the option of stabilising emissions to below dangerous levels.

“In other words it will be too difficult and expensive for the next generation to fix. The fact is we are putting more emissions into the atmosphere than nature can take out.

“Because the intensity and pace of global warming is so large, it is a decades-long problem. But we can’t fix it by delaying. We must start now.”

The warnings outlined in the paper follow comments made by Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair comparing global warming to terrorism, and a report by the Pentagon that said climate change could bring the planet to the “edge of anarchy”.