Victoria's annual greenhouse emissions performance data has been released as the Andrews government enters a critical decision-making period on state Emissions Reduction Targets.
The Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019 shows the state's emissions are on a downward trajectory, though Friends of the Earth says a heavier lift is needed to avoid dangerous climate impacts such as intensifying heatwaves, droughts, bushfires, and sea level rise:
"Community members are looking to the Andrews government to show greater leadership while the Morrison government refuses to tackle the climate crisis," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth's climate spokesperson.
"Victoria's emissions are on a downward trajectory, but a heavier lift is needed to protect communities from dangerous climate impacts."
The Climate Change Act 2017 requires the state government to set Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and '30 by March 31 next year. It is the first time a state government will set short- and medium-term targets for cutting emissions across the whole economy.
Friends of the Earth say the "stepping stone" targets will set the course for emissions cuts over the next decade and is an opportunity that can't be missed:
"With climate impacts occurring much faster than predicted, the litmus test for the Andrews government is whether its Emissions Reduction Targets help keep global warming below 1.5°C," said Leigh Ewbank.
While the Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019 shows the state's emissions are on a downward trajectory, worrying signs can be seen in the transport sector and fugitive emissions where emissions are on the rise.
Friends of the Earth says policymakers must pay greater attention to cutting emissions the transport sector and reining in fugitive emissions:
"The Andrews government can apply the handbrake on emissions in the transport sector by shifting investment from toll roads to improving public transport," said Ewbank.
"It can put a lid on fugitive emissions by extending the moratorium on gas drilling and ruling out offshore gas development in southwest Victoria."
Friends of the Earth has been coordinating the community campaign for the Andrews government to set science-based Emissions Reduction Targets. Community members across the state are calling for Premier Dan Andrews to lead the drive for less than 1.5°C.
School students will throw their weight behind the call for Victorian leadership on climate during a “Solidarity Sit Down” on the steps of Parliament House tomorrow (Friday 29 November).