Media Releases | 8th Mar, 2019

Greenhouse data shows Victorian government needs to lift its game on climate

Analysis of Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions reveals that, aside from the closure of Hazelwood power station in 2017, the state is making little progress towards reducing pollution.

State government data released late last year shows that while Victoria is on track to reach its 2020 greenhouse gas target of a 15-20 percent reduction on 2005 levels, 75 percent of avoided emissions are due to the retirement of Hazelwood.

In total across other sectors, emissions have decreased by only 1 percent, with some sectors increasing. This reveals the importance of urgently dealing with emissions from remaining coal power stations while dramatically scaling up efforts to tackle pollution across the economy.

Victoria’s emissions at a glance*

● In 2020, Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions are projected to be 104.5 million tonnes of CO2-e. This is 9 percent lower than in 2016 and 18 percent lower than in 2005.
● On current trajectories, the electricity sector will be responsible for 95 percent of the reduction between 2016 and 2020.
● The closure of Hazelwood power station alone was responsible for 75 percent of Victoria’s emission reductions.
● Victoria’s three remaining coal-burning power stations (Yallourn, Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B) are by far the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions.
● Emissions in Victoria’s other sectors are stubbornly and dangerously high, decreasing by less than 1 percent, with several sectors projected to increase significantly from 2016 to 2020.

* Environment Victoria has produced a briefing paper (available here) which summarises the Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2018. This report is published by the Victorian Government, and draws on National and State datasets. The original report can be found here.

Environment Victoria CEO Jono La Nauze said today:
“Victoria is reeling from the hottest summer on record. People and wildlife are suffering from catastrophic bushfires and water shortages. Climate change is here right now and requires urgent action.

“As Victoria’s biggest contributor to global warming by far, our three privately owned coal-burning power stations are at the heart of the problem.

“The closure of Hazelwood – which was the dirtiest coal power station in the world – is the only reason we will meet our 2020 emissions reduction target.

“This confirms that cutting greenhouse gas pollution from coal-power stations is the fastest way for Victoria to reduce emissions.

“The Andrews government could take immediate action by requiring the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal burning power stations as part of the EPA’s current review into their licences.

”It would be very disappointing if the EPA and the Andrews government failed to seize this opportunity.

“Annual carbon dioxide limits on power stations would ensure Victoria’s emissions go down rapidly while we prepare both the energy system and the Latrobe Valley community for a full transition away from coal, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us is both urgent and necessary.

“The simple truth is we must stop burning coal completely by 2030 if we are to keep warming to below 1.5 or 2 degrees,” said Mr La Nauze.

Outside of electricity, Victoria’s overall climate pollution is projected to barely change in coming years.

“It is unacceptable that we are still making next to no progress in reducing climate pollution in other sectors. It shows how few effective policies are actually in place, despite decades of knowing we need to deal with global warming.

“The Andrews government needs to prioritise cutting climate pollution across the economy, in particular in transport and agriculture.

“The government’s welcome progress on building renewable energy and enacting stronger climate laws will all come to naught if Victoria’s climate pollution continues to rise. That is the key test.

“We call on Premier Andrews to show real climate leadership, starting by limiting pollution from Victoria’s biggest climate polluters, which are coal-burning power stations,” said Mr La Nauze.

For interview and further comment

Jono La Nauze, Environment Victoria CEO

Mobile: 0402 904 251

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