Tag Archives: victoria

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.

Rewrite the future: climate conversations at Melbourne Girls College

Join this community forum to discuss the latest climate science and solutions for a sustainable future.
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This event is intended for people who are concerned about climate change but are confused by the current debate; those who wish to know more about the solutions and options for effective prevention of further climate change; and those who would like to move from interest to action on climate related issues.
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11am – 2pm
9 October 2010
Lyceum, Melbourne Girls’ College
Yarra Boulevard, Richmond
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Hear from Dr Colin Hocking, environmental researcher, Yarra resident and Al Gore presenter, about the effects of climate change in Melbourne and Victoria.
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Entry is by donation and lunch will be available.
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To RSVP contact MGC parent and sustainability collective member Fiona Armstrong on 0438 900 005 or email fiona-armstrong -at- bigpond.com.

Vote Climate @ the Victorian Election – Info Session

Yarra Climate Action Now will be hosting an information session for people interested in being involved in the Vote Climate campaign for the upcoming Victorian Election. RSVP here to let us know if you can make it (and if you can’t but are still interested, get in touch). Details below.

When

October 13th, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

Where

Level 2, Kindness House, 288 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

The Vote Climate Campaign

At the federal election, the Vote Climate campaign in inner-Melbourne helped put the climate crisis back on the agenda in a big way. Come along to this session to find out about the Vote Climate campaign for the Victorian State Election coming up in November.

Vote Climate is a non-partisan campaign run by a number of local climate action groups. It highlights where the parties’ stand on this issue and encourages voters to consider climate and energy policies when deciding who they choose to vote for.

A scorecard will be produced to rate the parties’ performance. This will be distributed to voters via letter-boxing, leafletting and at polling booths on election day. We will also be running fun and creative actions and events.

The results of the federal election shifted the debate on climate. We need your help to do the same for Victoria.

Scientists prove Victoria’s drought is climate change

A three-year study carried out by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO has found that Victoria’s 13 year drought is actually a permanent climate shift linked to increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Strengthening high pressure systems are pushing rain bands further south, over the ocean rather than land, due to the warming of the planet.

To view the research visit the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative website, and see coverage of the study in The Age.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Release the black balloons!

Credit where credit’s due. At the dawn of 2009, John Brumby, and his Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Gavin Jennings, announced the formation of four new national parks in Victoria. These national parks aim to protect sections of Victoria’s stressed River Red Gum ecosystems, and two of the parks will be jointly managed by the Yorta Yorta people. This brings to an end a decade-long campaign by the traditional owners of the area, and YCAN congratulates them and their supporters, particularly Friends of the Earth, for their great win.

The announcement includes an adjustment package for those who will lose their jobs as a result of the formation of the parks and the State Government claims that more jobs will be created once the decision is implemented. The parks are an important step towards boosting the resilience of vital ecosystems in the area, especially as the impacts of climate change on the Murray Darling Basin continue to worsen.

Unfortunately that is where the credit ends. The Brumby State Government has so far been a great disappointment on environmental issues and on climate change. While they have implemented some tokenistic market-based policies such as the Victorian Renewable Energy Target, the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target and a second-rate solar feed-in tariff, the fact remains that climate change is ignored in almost every policy decision and Victoria’s emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate.

A recent report by The Climate Group shows that Victoria’s emissions were 2.1 per cent higher in 2008 than the previous year (a 6 per cent increase based on 2000 levels) and our electricity use rose. Victoria’s emissions from petrol also increased.

This is a damning indictment of John Brumby’s policies. At a time when scientists all over the world are calling loudly for rapid and deep cuts in emissions, Victoria continues to belch out more emissions than ever before and continues to be amongst the worst per capita greenhouse gas emitters on earth. Instead of admitting to its shameful record and promising to change its ways, the State Government has tried to spin itself out of trouble by claiming per capita emissions have fallen. Not only does this not recognise that we also come out looking bad if emissions are measured per capita, it is completely irrelevant to halting the effects of climate change – the atmosphere doesn’t care about per capita emissions if absolute emissions keep rising.

On top of this, the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability’s State of the Environment Report, released in late 2008, makes for alarming reading. Most of Victoria’s ecology is increasingly degraded, and the degradation is worsening.

John Brumby and Gavin Jennings, it’s time you listened to the world-class climate scientists you have appointed to your Climate Change Reference Group, such as David Karoly and Amanda Lynch, and get serious on climate change. We suggest you start by changing the following policies:

Transport

Despite the fanfare and the great wads of taxpayers’ money spent in its promotion, the Victorian Transport Plan is more of the same short-sightedness that has got us into this huge transport mess in the first place. According to the Public Transport Users Association, the plan commits the State Government to building 122km of new roads. Almost half of the $38 billion plan will go to increasing or building new major road capacity. Building new roads in metropolitan Melbourne is profoundly stupid. New roads only encourage private vehicle use, thereby increasing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, traffic congestion and they drive us further into oil dependence, at a time that peak oil is estimated to be less than a decade away. Investing in new roads serves no benefit other than to enrich big business and wastes money that should be invested in public transport and other sustainable transport modes.

Energy

The rhetoric is that the State Government supports renewable energy. In reality however, John Brumby has approved a new coal-fired power station and a gas-fired power station for construction in Victoria. They have even put taxpayers’ money towards the new coal plant. You can’t have it both ways Mr Brumby, you either think climate change is a serious issue and work to reduce Victoria’s emissions, or you build new fossil fuel power stations.

Forests

The Brumby Government continues to support the logging of old growth forests. This insanity means that we are irreversibly destroying some of our best carbon sinks, the ecosystems that provide us with clean air and water and provide habitat for our biodiversity. Logging is currently occurring at Brown Mountain in East Gippsland, an area of high value forest with trees over 300 years old.

Water

The water outlook for Victoria is nothing short of frightening. Climate change exacerbates the situation with rainfall predicted to reduce further and the current eleven year drought most likely a more permanent dryness. It is wise that the Brumby Government is taking this challenge seriously, but their construction of a large industrial desalination plant and piping water out of the Murray Darling Basin to Melbourne should be solutions of last resort, once all other avenues such as stormwater and rainwater harvesting, stricter conservation initiatives and recycling have been tried.

In addition, the State Government continues to water down the environmental criteria for the desalination plant. It has gone back on its promise to build renewable energy generation to power the plant, and is now going to purchase renewable energy certificates to cover its electricity use (but not the energy used in its construction). Just one week ago, the State Government watered down the energy efficiency requirements of the plant, removing all limits on energy consumption.

The Brumby Government needs to understand that the crises we are now facing, brought about through a combination of climate change, resource depletion and biodiversity loss (among others) have the capacity to destroy the very foundations of human economic activity and human wellbeing. We need a change in paradigm, leading to a change in policy, and we need it fast.