The Victorian government is planning to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for the years 2025 and 2030 and has appointed an independent expert panel to provide advice on this.
The panel has been seeking input from the community to inform its advice to the Minister. The consultation closes on 1 May 2018 at 5pm.
Apart from signing on to a joint submission coordinated by Darebin Climate Action Now, together with a long list of other Victorian groups, Geelong Sustainability’s president Vicki Perrett sent this letter directly to the expert panel and to the Victorian Government:
Dear the Hon. Greg Combet and panelists,
The Federal government’s failure to act on climate change exposes Victorian communities to impacts such as intensifying bushfires, droughts, heatwaves, and extreme weather.
It is appalling that there is no national policy to advance renewable energy post 2020. As more policy details emerge around the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) the worse it sounds. If the national policy vacuum continues, the market will move to build more renewables (because they are cheapest). Coal will exit the market over time (resulting in emissions reductions). State governments will continue to drive renewable uptake because they are leading.
Analysts are suggesting that if we adopt the NEG, it will put a cap on renewables out to 2030. This will results in virtually zero new renewables built until 2035, except for under VIC and QLD state targets (The VIC target could be easily axed following the next election if the coalition won). Coal will be locked in until at least 2050. The certificate price for existing large-scale renewables could be driven to $0 by 2020.
It increasingly seems the NEG is deliberately designed to destroy renewables. This makes it even more important for VIC to show leadership and to legislate strong emission reduction targets.
I welcome the Independent Expert Panel’s investigation into Victoria’s interim Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and 2030. Our state has an opportunity to show leadership on climate change by setting ambitious, science-based targets.
As an independent panel free from political barriers, you have an opportunity to make recommendations to the government that are based on the latest climate science.
I call on the panel to make recommendations that ensure Victoria contributes its fair share towards the global goal of keeping warming to less than 1.5°C to 2°C.
As these interim targets will set the trajectory for future Victorian governments, and with time running out to avoid run-away climate change, I support deep emissions cuts to put Victoria on a path to rapid decarbonisation.
I believe Victoria must reduce emissions by as much as possible as quickly as possible, and not defer meaningful cuts until after 2030. I urge the panel to consider:
• The Climate Change Authority’s recommendation for Australia to cut emissions by up to 65 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
• For Australia to meet its carbon budget constraints, Professor David Karoly and Professor Clive Hamilton state that Australia would have to reach net zero emissions by 2035.
• The United Kingdom has set a legally binding target to cut emissions 57 percent below 1990 levels by 2032.
• Scotland, with a similar population as Victoria, will cut emissions 66 percent below 1990 levels by 2032 (with the additional aim for a 100 percent renewable electricity sector by 2032).
• California, the world’s sixth largest economy, will cut carbon emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Sound decision making on Victoria’s emissions reduction targets requires the greatest level of accuracy about our current emissions profile. I encourage the panel to account for the emissions associated with aviation, shipping, and land use (including prescribed burning and fire regime associated with logging).
In terms of policy tools, the panel can recommend the government: increase the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets to 100 percent by 2030; shift the balance of funding from road building towards public transport; and repower Melbourne’s train network with solar, wind, and storage.
On the issue of how should Victoria’s share of a global or Australian emissions budget is calculated I strongly recommend a move away from the relative percentages to actual tonnes per capita. Unless the world standardises on a baseline eg 1990, percentages sound simple but they are confusing and unhelpful.
Finally, I encourage the panel to limit any offsetting included in the targets to Victoria. There are known human rights abuses and negative environmental impacts associated with some international offsetting schemes. Limiting offsets to Victoria will mean our state captures the full economic and employment benefits of such a scheme.
I look forward to seeing the panel’s summary of responses in June 2018 and final advice to the government in February 2019.
President, Geelong Sustainability
Be quick! Have your say too
You can use Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s template and send off a pre-written email. Quickly done and always better than not doing anything. All voices and all input count in this process.
Use the form on www.melbournefoe.org.au/have_your_say
Consultation closes on 1 May 2018 at 5pm.
Read the panel’s issues paper (PDF)
Further details of the Independent Expert Panel including their terms of reference and submission form can be found at www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/reducing-emissions/interim-targets