YCAN submission to the Victorian Government Inquiry into the Climate Change Act 2010

The full submission can be downloaded here.

The Executive Summary is below:

YCAN notes the extreme severity of the climate crisis and its all-pervading nature. The climate crisis is on us now. It presents both an enormous threat to our wellbeing and an economic opportunity. It is essential that all levels of Government act with urgency to address this threat. It is common sense that Government act to take advantage of the rapidly changing economic landscape to develop renewable energy sources.

In respect of the desirability of retaining the 20% by 2020 emissions reduction goal YCAN argues that this target should be increased to 80 -100% emissions reductions by 2020. Working to reach this new science-based target is good for our continuing environmental viability, minimises the economic damage caused by the climate crisis and optimises the economic opportunity associated with the shift to a carbon constrained future. Delaying action is a false economy. Every dollar saved by avoiding action now will require more than four dollars to make up later.

YCAN acknowledges that seen against the Federally-legislated target of 5% the legislated Victorian commitment of 20% seems disproportionately large. However we argue that in light of the rapidly worsening climatic news, well before 2020 the Federal Government will be forced to increase its GHG reduction targets probably at least to the current nominated upper level of 25% but most likely much higher (see below).

Under these circumstances the current Victorian commitment would become proportionately lower than the overall commitment. Further; so rapid is the escalation of the climate crisis that YCAN asserts that the adequacy of any target to deliver a response proportionate to the scale of the climate threat should be reviewed every four years.

In respect of the necessity to retain the requirement for decision makers to take climate change into account YCAN maintains that given the above this requirement is absolutely essential.

In respect of the necessity for government to develop and implement a climate adaptation plan every four years, YCAN maintains that so severe is the climate crisis confronting us that such a process is essential.

Finally, YCAN recognizes the implications of the growing body of research that shows that lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from gas are at best only marginally lower than those of the most widely used techniques of coal combustion.

YCAN recognizes that in Australia (and generally throughout the developed economies of the world) new gas fired generating capacity is additional to rather than a replacement for older coal fired installations. Thus they add to the atmospheric GHG burden.

YCAN argues therefore that gas has no role to play as an acceptable ‘transition’ fuel in the climate emergency we are faced with and supports the most rapid possible transition away from all fossil fuels to renewable energy as source fuel for power generation.