Victoria’s Labor government is considering drawing up a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a new push for a state emissions trading scheme, with talks ongoing with New South Wales and South Australia, according to media reports.
The state is currently reviewing its climate change legislation and policy programmes, and whether a new emissions target would be effective, Victoria Environment Minister Lisa Neville told a conference last week, according to The Age newspaper.
The paper also said Victoria was believed to consider renewing a push to set up a state-based carbon market, potentially with New South Wales and South Australia.
“In the absence of national leadership on this critical issue, we understand as a State Government we must take the lead on climate change and are committed to reinvigorating climate action within our state,” Neville said.
Australian states were exploring such a scheme a few years ago, but ended the process in 2008 when then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced his plan to launch a national ETS.
After the Liberal government dismantled Australia’s carbon price last year, the issue appears to be back on some states’ agenda.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has kept the nation’s target to cut emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020, but the government’s plans to achieve it are vague, and have been criticised for being ineffective and under funded.
“It’s become clear that the trends toward clean energy technologies, business models and consumer options are only getting stronger,” Erwin Jackson with the Climate Institute told Carbon Pulse.
“There’s a great opportunity for state governments like Victoria to capitalise on this energy transformation, if they do two things: first, recognise the objective is net zero emission energy by mid-century and second, work out a strategy for getting there.”
In 2011-12, Victoria, a big coal consumer, was Australia’s third-biggest emitter, releasing 129 million tonnes of CO2e into the atmosphere.
New South Wales was the biggest, emitting 149 million tonnes, with South Australia at fifth with 30 million tonnes.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org