MEDIA RELEASE: 20 September 2022
Victoria positioned to scale up climate ambition for 2035 after delivering record emissions cuts
Victoria’s latest greenhouse gas performance data, released today, shows that the Andrews government has overachieved its Emissions Reduction Target of 20% by 2020 by 10 percent.
Friends of the Earth says the significant achievement positions the state government to scale up its climate policy ambition and set a science-based Emissions Reduction Target for 2035. A decision on the target is due to be made by the state government in March 2023.
“The accelerating pace of emission cuts in Victoria builds momentum for the state government elected in November to set a bold and ambitious Emissions Reduction Target for 2035,” said Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson Anna Langford.
“Victorians should feel proud that despite nine years of delay and denial on climate action at the federal level, our state has made big strides ahead with strong climate policies that are creating thousands of jobs,” said Anna Langford.
Friends of the Earth says the data shows what can be achieved with good, forward-planning government policy.
“When the Andrews government rebuilt the Climate Change Act and re-instituted the need to set 5-yearly Emissions Reduction Targets, it demonstrated leadership and provided certainty to business and investors,” said Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator Cam Walker.
“Setting ambitious targets provides the opportunity to develop a pipeline of jobs and investment for years to come,” said Cam Walker.
Friends of the Earth’s initial analysis of Victoria’s latest greenhouse gas performance data finds:
Victoria cut emissions by 29.8% on 2005 levels by 2020.
Victoria’s energy sector is still the state’s largest source of emissions, but continues to see deep cuts made due to the rapid upscaling of renewable energy. The sector saw a 15.8% increase in renewable energy production between 2019-20.
Victoria’s native forests continue to act as a crucial carbon sink, sequestering a quarter of Victoria’s emissions in 2019-20. This accentuates the need for the Victorian government to protect the state’s remaining native forest.
- The transport sector is the second-largest source of emissions - and transport emissions continued to rise in 2020, despite the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Friends of the Earth modelling based on the latest dataset shows that by maintaining the current rate of emissions reductions (2010-20) on a straight-line trajectory:
- The Victorian government is on track to significantly exceed its Emissions Reduction Target of a 45-50 percent cut (below 2005 levels) by 2030.
On the straight-line trajectory, Victoria would achieve a 54 percent emissions reduction by 2025 and 79 percent reduction by 2030. These emissions reductions represent a new baseline.
- The legislated target of net-zero emissions by 2050 could be achieved in mid-2034 on this trajectory — over 16 years ahead of schedule. This means Victoria’s emissions reduction would be inline with a 1.5°C carbon budget.
Friends of the Earth says the independent panel chosen to advise the Victorian government on its 2035 Emissions Reduction Target will now need to take the updated data into account.
“This data comes at an important moment for the independent expert panel as they prepare to recommend options for a 2035 Emissions Reduction Target to the Victorian government. This data can embolden the panel to recommend a 2035 target inline with a 1.5°C carbon budget,” said Anna Langford.
Friends of the Earth has coordinated a community campaign for science-based Victorian Emissions Reduction Targets since November 2017. The group says the Victorian government now has the momentum to aim well above ‘business as usual’ and align Victoria’s 2035 target with climate science.
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