Back in July, Friends of the Earth called on our supporters to meet with local Labor MPs to make the case for science-based Emissions Reduction Targets for Victoria.
The Morrison government's refusal to tackle the climate crisis has seen the country's emissions increase five years in a row. The refusal to act leaves communities exposed to intensifying heatwaves, bushfires, sea-level rise, and extreme weather.
In contrast to the national performance on greenhouse gases, Victoria's emissions are on a downward trajectory. The Andrews government has an opportunity to build on the momentum by setting Emissions Reduction Targets that are bold and ambitious, but will it rise to the challenge?
Liz Reen, Mitzi Tuke, and community members from a local branch of the Australian Conservation Foundation met with local MP Paul Hamer to make the case for ambition:
"We introduced ourselves gave him a brief background on the involvement of our group in community conversations and door knocking about the climate crisis in the lead up to both the State and Federal elections," explained Liz.
The meeting with Mr Hamer focused on making the case for the Andrews government take more ambition to the interim Emissions Reduction Targets than was recommended by the Combet Report.
"Mitzi pointed out the need to do the 'heavy lifting' now so that there is more time to address the sources of carbon dioxide that will be harder to eliminate," said Liz.
The group noted the MP's concern about how quickly infrastructure can adapt to carbon-constraints:
"Paul agrees on the need for ambitious targets, but is concerned about how fast the infrastructure can be ramped up to meet them," said Liz. "His engineering background means he wants to see plans on how it can be done."
On a positive note, the group secured a pledge from Mr Hamer to raise the issue of more ambitious targets with Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio as well as investigating the feasibility of extending the moratorium on on-shore gas exploration after 30 June 2020, which Mr Hamer notes was "logical."
With the state government's announcement on Emissions Reduction Targets just months away, now's the time to meet with Labor MPs to urge them to support science-based targets that help keep global warming below 1.5°C.