will create clean jobs and investment opportunities in the state, but a higher target would unlock more benefits and better protect Victorians from worsening climate impacts, the Climate Council says.
Today, the Victorian Government announced an emission reduction target of 28-33% by 2025, and 45-50% for 2030 – as well as a plan for how to get there. Previously, the state had a 15-20% emission reduction target for 2020, which was met.
Climate Council spokesman Professor Will Steffen said the new Victorian climate target was progress, particularly in the wake of federal government inaction, but the state was missing out on even greater benefits that stronger emission reductions would bring.
“Victoria already has a track record of strong performance, having met its 2020 emission reduction target two years ahead of schedule,” said Professor Steffen.
“Given the extraordinary economic opportunities for Victoria from investing in clean technology and new industries, a higher emission reduction target is a pathway to more clean jobs and investment, cleaner and cheaper electricity, and healthier communities,” said Professor Steffen.
“Victoria is incredibly vulnerable to climate change impacts, having experienced severe drought, soaring temperatures, and the 2009 and 2019-2020 megafires. The faster Victoria acts and the higher it aims, the more Victorians benefit,” he added.
The Climate Council’s latest report, Aim High, Go Fast: Why Emissions Need to Plummet this Decade, set new science-based targets for Australia of a 75% cut by 2030, and reaching net zero emissions by 2035.
Tim Baxter, senior researcher, Climate Council, said: “Climate action has fallen to state and territory governments, while the Federal Government sits on its hands. Every state and territory must aim to make the lion’s share of emission reductions in the 2020s, in line with the latest science.”
“Moving to decarbonise transport by aiming for half of all new cars sold in Victoria by 2030 to be zero-emission vehicles, and ratcheting up emissions reduction targets are good building blocks for even faster and bolder action,” said Mr Baxter.
“There is no safe level of global warming, with every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions doing us further damage. The more emissions that we cut, and every fraction of a degree of warming that we avoid, will make a world of difference,” added Mr Baxter.
Facts and figures
If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise on a “business as usual” (high-end) trajectory, the cumulative climate damages bill for Victoria could cost $115 billion by 20301. (Note: This figure only accounts for a limited number of climate impacts.)
51% of Victoria’s emissions come from generating electricity, for which there are readily available alternatives like solar and wind power backed by storage. If Victoria reaches zero emissions electricity by 2030 this would equate to a 63% emissions reduction on 2005 levels.
A further 25% of Victoria’s emissions come from road transport. Deep cuts can be made in this sector through a dedicated zero emissions program, that includes solutions in public and active transport and electric vehicles, and the health and economic opportunities in doing so are huge.
The Climate Council’s Clean Jobs Plan (2020) showed that up to 20,000 Victorian jobs could be created within three years, while also cutting emissions, in sectors such as energy, transport, waste and education and training.