It's an excellent time for Victoria to step up and show some leadership on climate change, and we think the answer is a Climate Charter. And you can help.
So where to now? We have no federal carbon price and no prospect of one just yet (although I am sure this is where we will end up once Australia collectively comes to its senses – unfortunately about 15 years too late). We have Victorian climate legislation that requires absolutely nothing of anyone (do Victorians even know we have a Victorian Climate Change Act?). We have a State Government that, when it came to power, declared it would be a ‘climate leader’ (although with little detail on what that would entail). We have an EPA without a real mandate to regulate GHG emissions. And we have the highest carbon polluting power station in the developed world.
Sounds like an excellent time for Victoria to step up and show some leadership on climate change.
The Victorian Government is currently reviewing Victoria’s Climate Change Act. They are calling for public submissions by Sunday 2 August. It is critical that Victorians use this process to demand action on climate change, and counter calls from industry not to regulate them.
Envirojustice thinks it is critical that the Victorian Government start properly embedding climate change considerations into its decision-making right across government. The Victorian Government is making decisions now which will have the effect of increasing our emissions for decades, such as:
- extending the Urban Growth Boundary and associated transport projects which will increase transport emissions, encourage further urban sprawl, and reduce farmland close to population centres
- continuing the logging and clearing of native forest and native vegetation which releases emissions and reduces vital carbon sinks
- allowing the Hazelwood power station to continue operating until 2031 despite its being the highest emitting power station in any developed country
- issuing new licences to explore for coal in Gippsland.
It is clear that Victoria has not yet figured out what its role in addressing climate change should be.
Envirojustice has developed a proposal for Victorian climate legislation which will guide our path to a low carbon future. It’s called the Climate Charter.
The Climate Charter sets up a legal framework that will make Victoria a world leader on climate change. It will ensure Victoria can significantly reduce its emissions, and make its best effort to adapt to unavoidable climate impacts.
Its intent is summed up in its preamble –
We, the people of Victoria, recognise the overwhelming threat that climate change poses to our State, our country and the world. We are committed to taking responsibility for our State’s contribution to climate change. We recognise that this is a responsibility shared by all levels of Government, the community and industry, and each must play its part. Victoria is committed to being a climate leader and to taking strong action to reduce greenhouse emissions to ensure environmental justice is achieved for current and future generations.
The Charter includes emission reduction targets which the Government is legally required to meet, a ‘climate test’ which prevents Government from ignoring the target, and power for Victorian citizens to take the Government to court if it doesn’t comply with its own climate laws.
See the full Climate Charter for more details.
We are proposing this Climate Charter to the Government. We would love for you to put your support behind it too. Make a submission to the review of the Climate Change Act today. Whether you support the Charter or not, it is critical that Victorians use this process to demand action on climate change. Together with our colleagues at Friends of the Earth we have set up an easy way for you to support the Charter and make a submission – just CLICK HERE.
Send to your networks and ask them to make a submission too. Climate action will only happen if the community demands it. This is a great opportunity to do just that.