The Andrews Government’s confirmation that it will legislate emissions targets by the end of summer is a crucial acknowledgement of the role climate change has played in the severity of the ongoing bushfires, said Environment Victoria CEO Jono La Nauze.
“With the unprecedented fires still ripping through our nation, people are understandably frightened about the climate crisis,” said Mr La Nauze. “Finally a government is listening to these fears.”
“State governments already have significant constitutional powers to respond to climate change through energy policy and emissions targets.”
The Victorian Government must close dirty and inefficient coal-fired power stations earlier and invest in renewable capacity to replace them if it wants to meet its emissions reduction commitments.
“Victoria is already on the right path, but now we need to accelerate by closing and replacing inefficient, unreliable coal stations,” said Mr La Nauze.
“Three coal-fired power stations produce 40 percent of our state’s emissions and their licenses are shortly up for review. There’s no better time to plan their early retirement.”
Recent analysis shows Victoria’s dirtiest coal power station, Yallourn, could be replaced in three years with a combination of more batteries, wind, solar and upgrading electricity infrastructure.
The government’s independent advice recommended emission cuts of up to 60% by 2030. However, the report noted that even the highest end of this target will not keep warming below 2 degrees.
“While the government’s commitment is an excellent start, we need to aim higher to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” said Mr La Nauze.
“Our planet is now just above one degree of warming. If we don’t slow the acceleration of climate change, our summers will only grow more dangerous. We owe it to our suffering communities to do everything in our power to tackle the pollution causing this climate crisis.”
Jono La Nauze, Environment Victoria CEO
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