Andrews govt emissions cuts must limit warming to 1.5°C to protect Victorian communities from climate impacts

MEDIA RELEASE: 6 June 2019

Andrews govt emissions cuts must limit warming to 1.5°C to protect Victorian communities from climate impacts


Friends of the Earth says emissions cuts to limit global warming to 1.5°C will be needed from the Andrews government in order to protect communities from dangerous climate impacts.

The group’s call comes as Independent Expert Panel advice on Victoria’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets is tabled in the Parliament.

The panel, led by former Federal climate minister Greg Combet, recommends the Andrews government reduce emissions by 32-39 percent below 2005 levels in 2025 and 45-60 below 2005 levels in 2030.  

Friends of the Earth say greater ambition is needed from the state government when it comes to cutting emissions.
"The Federal Coalition's failure to act on the climate crisis leaves Victorian communities exposed to intensifying heatwaves, droughts, bushfires, and rising sea levels,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s climate spokesperson.  

“Now more than ever we need the Victorian Labor government to show political leadership and set the targets needed to meet 1.5°C challenge.”

“The Andrews government pledged to limit warming to 1.5°C, now it’s time to deliver.”

The Combet report notes that cuts of 67 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C and acknowledges “climate science clearly demonstrates that a 1.5°C world would be much safer, with significantly lower impacts than 2°C of warming.”

The Combet report, however, fails to recommend a cut of 67 percentbelow 2005 levels by 2030 on the basis that other countries have not taken commensurate commitments and action.

Friends of the Earth says countries are expected to increase targets to meet the 1.5°C challenge at the United Nation’s Climate Action Summit in September. Finland, which has a comparable population to Victoria, has this week set a target of zero-net emissions by 2035.

The group says the Andrews government must pay attention to the UN process and be prepared to lift its ambition.  

Friends of the Earth calls on the Andrews government to prioritise frontline communities in its decision-making process on interim Emissions Reduction Targets.

Over 150 community members attended a town hall meeting in Inverloch last night to discuss local climate impacts and solutions. Citizen scientist and Bass Coast resident Aileen Vening has documented 40 metres of coastal erosion since 2012.

“The Bass Coast community is among the first places to be impacted by climate change in Victoria, but it won't be the last,” said Leigh Ewbank.

“The government must prioritise communities on the frontline of climate impacts in its decision on emissions cuts.”

Friends of the Earth call for the Andrews government to take a long term view and show leadership:

“The most important responsibility we all have is to ensure a safe climate and healthy environment for our children and the generations that come after us,” said Leigh Ewbank.

“Premier Daniel Andrews and the Labor government can leave a powerful legacy by setting targets that meet the 1.5°C challenge.”

Friends of the Earth work with the communities, unions, and other stakeholders to make the case for science-based targets that are both bold and ambitious.