The Victorian Labor Government recently announced their emissions reduction targets. Yet the Australian Greens of Victoria are dissatisfied with this long-awaited climate target. 

Victoria’s reduction targets

On may 1st, 2021, the Victorian Labor Government announced that they would reduce emissions by 28-33% by 2025 and 45-50% by 2030.

The government will be offering rebates up to $3 000 to Victorians who buy zero-emission vehicles. Their goal is to make 50% of all new car sales by 2030 plug-in vehicles.

They also pledge to power all government-owned enterprises, including police and metro stations, with renewable electricity by 2025.

Why these targets aren’t enough

These emission reduction targets go against what scientists have stated are necessary to remain below the 1.5-degree temperature rise limit agreed upon in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

If the state of Victoria truly wants to fight climate change, then they have to set more ambitious standards. Scientists say that to stay under the 1.5-degree limit, Victoria should cut 50% of emissions by 2025 and 80% by 2030. 

While the Premier of Victoria states that this new emission reduction target will put Victoria “at the forefront of Australia’s climate change action”, the Victorian Greens think otherwise. 

Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell states:

These targets set by Labor are very low, and are unfortunately not Victoria’s fair share of taking real action on global warming.

– Ellen Sandell

Where other states and territories stand

The Australian Capital Territory is already at 100% renewable elecricity. South Australia has promised to reach a renewable energy target of 50 % by 2025.

In 2018, New South Wales (NSW) successfully completed its 2013 renewable energy action plan. During this period, the share of wind and solar energy in NSW’s electricity generation mix tripled. 

Even though both NSW and Victoria have aimed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, NSW’s substantial investment in green infrastructure may facilitate their switch. 

What this could mean for Victoria

Under this new emission reduction target, Victoria will continue to get much of its energy from coal. Currently, 70% of Victoria’s energy comes from three coal plants;: Loy Yang A, Loy Yang B and Yallourn. All three thermal power stations burn brown coal. Due to brown coal’s high moisture and low carbon content, it can create up to 30% more greenhouse gas emissions than black coal. Fortunately, EnergyAustralia has recently announced it will close the Yallourn power station in 2028, four years earlier than previously scheduled.
(announced in a Guardian article: Yallourn, one of Australia’s last brown coal power stations, to close early in favour of giant battery)

But this still leaves two major coal power stations up and running over the next decade. Additionally, cars will still be allowed to run on gas and diesel ten years from now. In a Victorian greens article on the subject, they write

IF EVERY JURISDICTION IN THE WORLD DID THE SAME AS VICTORIA HAS DONE, WE’D LOCK IN MORE THAN 2 OR 3 DEGREES OF GLOBAL HEATING, CAUSING MORE CATASTROPHIC BUSHFIRES, EXTREME WEATHER, FLOODS AND THE LOSS OF COUNTLESS VICTORIAN LIVES AND ECOSYSTEMS.

-Australian Greens Victoria

For other articles on Australian greens, visit:

Australian Greens Call for Government Tax Plan to be Reevaluated

Victorian Greens Positively Receive the State’s New Legislation to Ban Single-Use Plastic by 2023

Hailey Roop

Hailey is an undergraduate student at McGill University studying Economics and Environment. She is interested in addressing environmental and social issues through community engagement efforts. In her free time, she likes to explore the city of Montreal on foot or by bike!

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