Victorian opposition leader Michael O'Brien has responded to surging community concern about the climate crisis by announcing a policy shift on the issue, accepting the need for state emissions reductions.
Friends of the Earth says the shift is a positive first step.
Mr O'Brien told The Age newspaper that state Emissions Reduction Targets were necessary in the absence of a "consistent national policy."
The Victorian Liberal leader also called on the Morrison government to set national targets for cutting emissions beyond 2030.
"It's good to see Michael O'Brien acknowledge the surging community concern about the climate crisis and update opposition climate policy," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth's climate spokesperson.
"The opposition can build on this positive first step by publicly backing the Victorian Climate Change Act. It's a practical step to demonstrate its commitment to climate action."
Friends of the Earth say the opposition leader's comments create space for the Andrews government to show greater leadership when setting the state's first interim Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and '30.
"The opposition's policy shift creates space for Premier Daniel Andrews to set science-based Emissions Reduction Targets that are bold and ambitious. With the Morrison government refusing to act, now's the time for Victorian leadership," said Leigh Ewbank.
"With climate impacts visible for all to see and occurring faster than scientists predicted, the litmus test for the Andrews government is whether the targets help keep global warming below 1.5°C."
Friends of the Earth will write to the opposition to encourage further steps forward on climate, including public support for the Climate Change Act 2017.
- GET INVOLVED with Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate collective by attending a weekly action group meeting (rolling Facebook event).
- JOIN US at Monash University Clayton's soccer pitch on Sunday 16 February to create a human sign and send a message for climate action that cannot be ignored. (Facebook event page)