Environment Victoria welcomes the Andrews Government’s plans to strengthen Victoria’s Climate Change Act, and urges the Premier to make a fast start in cutting Victoria’s climate pollution.
The Premier has committed Victoria to reaching zero climate pollution by 2050 at the latest, accepted nearly all recommendations of the Climate Change Act review, and is launching a program of climate pledges to encourage all sectors to be involved in tackling global warming.
Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham said today:
“Setting a clear target for reaching zero climate pollution provides a strong signal for all future government and business decisions. We need to reach this target as quickly as possible.
“For the road toll, the aim is to reach zero. Targets for climate pollution are now the same – zero damage. The sooner we get there the better, and the more damage we can avoid.
“While 2050 is a long time away, there are some immediate implications. Pursuing new coal or gas projects is inconsistent with a plan to decarbonise the economy. Instead we need to embrace our renewable energy resources.”
In addition to the long term target, the state government has committed to setting a 2020 pollution reduction target by the end of 2016, which will partly be informed by the climate pledge program.
“As well as strengthening climate legislation in coming months, we need a clear plan from the Andrews Government for supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency and phasing out Victoria’s coal-burning power stations,” said Mr Wakeham.
“Since the independent review of the Climate Change Act was completed late last year, we’ve seen an unseasonably early bushfire devastate Wye River in the Otways and unprecedented fires destroy ancient forests in Tasmania. We’re now seeing the Great Barrier Reef bleach and die before our eyes.
“Internationally, we’re seeing record low ice levels in the Arctic, with the possibility of no sea ice this northern summer – a tipping point that was thought to be decades away. Each month this year has been the hottest on record globally.
“This is all consistent with a frightening shift in how the Earth is responding to the climate pollution we’re creating. The time for action and leadership is now.
“We’ll be strongly encouraging our 70,000 Victorian supporters to pledge to cut their climate pollution to zero by 2020, and we look forward to seeing the state government and businesses make substantial pledges and policy decisions to reduce pollution across the economy.
“The community is ready to tackle climate change, but governments need to lead the charge. We look forward to working with Premier Andrews and Minister D’Ambrosio to clean up Victoria’s economy.
“We expect to see the EPA given clear powers to regulate carbon dioxide, a timeline for phasing out our oldest and dirtiest coal power stations, and ambitious plans to boost renewable energy and energy efficiency. These are the key steps that we identified almost 12 months ago in our report Six Steps to Climate Leadership.”
“The Government’s response to the Climate Change Act review notes that ‘strong action on climate change must start now’. We agree,” said Mr Wakeham.
Mark Wakeham, CEO, Environment Victoria
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