The Victorian government announced its much-anticipated emissions reduction targets Sunday, unveiling a major commitment to cut the state’s carbon emissions in half by 2030, with an interim target of 28% to 33% of 2005 level by 2025.
In an Australian first, the announcement also details plans to transition government operations like schools, hospitals, trains, trams and police stations to fully renewable energy by 2025.
To achieve the targets, more than $100 million will be invested to transform the transport sector, $20 million for the agriculture sector and $15 million to help farmers adapt.
Up to $3,000, meanwhile, will be offered as an incentive for Victorians to buy zero-emissions vehicles.
In 2019, an independent expert panel, appointed by the government, suggested Victoria commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 32% to 39% below 2005 levels by 2025, and then by 45% to 60% below 2005 levels in 2030.
Despite the newly released targets being on the low side of both the 2025 and 2030 suggested targets, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said Victoria is now at the forefront of Australia’s climate change action.
"Our action on climate change puts Victoria shoulder to shoulder with the world’s major economies and leaders,” D’Ambrosio said in a media release. “This will reduce emissions and create jobs across the economy — from agriculture to transport to energy.”
Victoria’s emissions plan trumps the national government’s, which remains at a reduction of 26% to 28% by 2030.
Victoria is leading the country in tackling climate change – delivering the largest reduction of emissions of any state and one of the most rapid rates of decarbonisation.— Lily D'Ambrosio MP (@LilyDAmbrosioMP) May 2, 2021
⁰This is how it’s done. 🤓 pic.twitter.com/VlhAC8IBLs
Despite being a “step in the right direction,” the targets have mainly been classified as falling short by environmentalists.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Nick Aberle said the state’s targets were “significant” compared to the rest of Australia’s state and federal policies but admitted they would have very little hope of actually helping limit warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
To limit irreversible climate damage, Victoria, and all other states, should reduce emissions by 75% by 2030, Aberle said.
“These emissions targets are politically bold, but scientifically inadequate,” he wrote in an opinion piece for the Age. “Judged against the urgency of the crisis we face, the Victorian government climate targets do not go far enough.”
Climate Council councillor Will Steffen echoed Aberle’s comments.
“Victoria already has a track record of strong performance, having met its 2020 emission reduction target two years ahead of schedule,” he said. “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.”