Media release: Thursday 18 Aug 2016
Polling released today by Friends of the Earth shows there is strong support in the Victorian community for an ‘urgent’ transition away from coal to 100 percent renewable energy.
The polling shows a large majority, 71 percent of respondents, believe the Victorian government should commit to major reductions in our state’s greenhouse pollution. Some 83 percent of Labor voters agreed with the statement.
The polling comes as the Andrews government prepares to amend the Victorian Climate Change Act 2010 (CCA) before the year’s end.
“The Andrews government can kick start the transition to 100 percent renewables by re-building the Climate Change Act 2010 (CCA)” said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator.
“The Coalition gutted the Climate Change Act when it was in power, removing almost all mitigation (climate pollution reduction) measures.”
“During those four years, action on climate change stalled in the state, at a time when climate science made it clear that we had no time to waste.”
Premier Daniel Andrews has committed to re-build the Act. His government has accepted the majority of the recommendations from the Independent Review of the Climate Change Act and is currently drafting legislation to strengthen it (the government’s intention is to table this legislation before the end of 2016).
The Independent Review recommended that the Act include legislated Emission Reduction Targets (ERTs). The ERTs will be essential in driving the transition away from coal to renewable energy. The government will announce an interim target in late 2016 for action between 2017 and 2020. It will also announce a long-term emissions reduction target later in 2016.
Friends of the Earth believes that the interim emissions reduction targets need to address the urgency of climate change.
“The Andrews government can prove it’s climate credentials by adopting an ambitious emissions target for 2020. The heavy lifting on climate change must occur this decade if our state it to make headway on this issue. Victoria can’t afford to defer ambition until after 2020.”
Friends of the Earth says that lack of federal government leadership means that states must ramp up measures to rapidly reduce greenhouse pollution and transition our economy away from our current reliance on coal.
“The polling shows that the community understands the need to rapidly transition our economy away from our current reliance on coal” said Mr Walker.
“The best way that the government can do this is to announce an ambitious interim emissions reduction target – this is the only target that the government can guarantee that it can actually deliver, so it is essential it is a respectable figure.”
“We acknowledge the Andrews government’s actions to date on climate change, including setting the Victorian Renewable Energy Target. Deep emissions reductions targets are the next policy trigger to transform our energy systems to be fit for purpose for the 21st century.”
Friends of the Earth say the polling sends a clear signal that the Victorian opposition should support a strengthened Victorian Climate Change Act. The Liberal/National coalition is currently light on climate policy detail.
“It’s time for opposition leader Matthew Guy to acknowledge strong concern about climate change among Liberal party voters and offer bipartisan support for a strengthened climate change act,” said Walker.
The Coalition left a disastrous legacy from its time in power under Ted Baillieu and Denis Napthine. With new leadership, Mr Guy has the chance to re-position his party as being progressive on this most pressing of issues.
“The Victorian Coalition can redeem itself by supporting the amended legislation when it is tabled later in 2016”
Polling Results – Key Findings:
- On the question, ‘Do you agree or disagree that Victoria needs to transition its energy use from coal to 100% renewables as a matter of urgency?,’ a total of 68.2 percent of respondents supported the statement. Significantly, 78.6% of ALP voters agreed with the statement. Some 51.2 percent of Liberal voters agrees.
- On the question, ‘Do you agree or disagree with the statement that the Victorian government needs to commit to major reductions in our state’s greenhouse pollution?,’ a total of 71 percent of respondents agreed. Significantly, 83 percent of ALP voters agreed with the statement. Some 54.7 percent of Liberal voters agreed.
- There was also strong awareness of the need to support the Latrobe Valley community as we transition from coal. 69.5 percent of respondents want the government to invest funds to help diversify the Valley’s economy (including 77.4 percent of ALP voters).
- The polling of 1,137 people was conducted by ReachTEL on the evening of August 4.
For further comment or for a copy of the polling: Cam Walker, 0419 338 047 and [email protected]