Media Releases | 23rd Jul, 2015

New climate change report outlines the task for Andrews Government

23 July 2015

Victoria could be a leader on climate change and renewable energy but is currently falling behind international jurisdictions and other Australian states, according to a new report launched by Environment Victoria today.

The report, Six Steps to Climate Leadership: The Path to a Cleaner, Healthier and More Prosperous Victoria, outlines how the Andrews Government can decarbonise the Victorian economy, create new industries and make Victoria a renewable energy heavyweight on the global stage.

Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham said today:

“Since the November 2014 election, the Andrews Government has consistently stated it intends to make Victoria a leader on climate change. With the Federal Government missing in action on climate change and destroying renewable energy investment and jobs, state leadership is more critical than ever.”

“The good news is that state and regional governments around the world have shown that there is no need to wait for national leadership, and that state governments have many of the key policy tools at their disposal. With Victoria extremely vulnerable to increased heatwaves, drought, bushfire and flooding that come with climate change the case for state leadership is compelling.

“This report examines what other jurisdictions are aiming for and achieving, and the steps the Andrews Government should take so Victoria catches up with the leaders on climate change and renewable energy.“Ambitious statements about clean energy and the environment now need to be supported by new polices that will clean up what is one of the dirtiest power sectors in the world,  grow renewable energy and ensure that the state participates in the global clean energy jobs boom. Currently there are few polices in place that will actually achieve this.

“Several government reviews and policy development processes are underway that will fill the current void, and we’ll be looking to ensure these processes deliver a clear plan and policies for Victorian leadership.

Mr Wakeham said that the elephant in the room in Victorian climate policy was the urgent need to retire outdated and polluting power stations like Hazelwood and Yallourn.

“Over 80 percent of Victoria’s electricity is generated by burning dirty brown coal, making Victoria twice as polluting per person compared to similar economies.

“Norway, Denmark and Finland all have a similar population size and GDP to Victoria, but around half the emissions per person largely because their power supply is so much cleaner.”

The Andrews Government is reviewing the state’s climate change policy agenda after the previous Government scrapped most Victorian climate change policies and programs, which wasted precious time and put the state on the back foot in its climate response.

“While the Baillieu/Napthine governments were weakening our climate laws and policies places like Scotland and California were enjoying the economic, health and environmental benefits of bold renewable energy plans. Canadian province Ontario got on with phasing out all of its coal-fired power stations.”

“Victoria can join these leaders but needs an ambitious, specific and funded plan from the Andrews Government.”

Media briefers
How Victoria compares to Denmark, Norway and Finland (PDF)
How to get there: the Six Steps to Climate Leadership for the Andrews Government (PDF)
Victoria’s climate leadership ambition – what the Andrews Government has said on climate and clean energy (PDF)Overseas examples: 
California (PDF)
Ontario (PDF)
Scotland (PDF)Fast facts:

  • Almost 50 percent of Victoria’s emissions come from four large brown coal power stations in the Latrobe Valley (see graphic from p.10 below).

  • In 2013, Victoria’s annual emissions were roughly 21 tonnes per person. Norway, Denmark and Finland all have a similar population size and GDP to Victoria, but around half the emissions per person (see graphic from p.9 below).

  • Overseas, Ontario in Canada, home to 13.5 million people, has entirely phased out coal. California is aiming for 40% emissions reductions by 2030, and Scotland is on track for 100% renewable energy by 2020. (See overseas examples above.)
Images (licensed under Creative Commons):

For comment:
Mark Wakeham, CEO, Environment Victoria – 0439 700 501