Climateworks Australia today welcomed the announcement by the Victorian Government that it will adopt a target of net zero emissions by 2050, as recommended in the review of the Victorian Climate Change Act 2010.

Climateworks Australia CEO, Anna Skarbek said the Government’s emissions reduction target was achievable and urged other Australian governments to make similar climate change commitments.

All governments – federal, state and local – have critical roles to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Victoria now joins South Australia and the ACT in committing to a net zero emissions reduction target by 2050 and we hope that other governments will soon follow suit.

Anna Skarbek

Ms Skarbek was a member of the Independent Review of Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2010, along with Martijn Wilder AM, head of Baker & McKenzie’s Global Environmental Markets and Climate Change practice, and Professor Rosemary Lyster from the Climate and Environmental Law, Sydney Law School, the University of Sydney.

The review made 33 recommendations on setting emissions reduction targets to align with the Paris Agreement of limiting global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius and establishing processes for Victoria to embed climate change action across government operations and decisions.

Ms Skarbek said the Victorian Government has supported in principle all but one of the recommendations made by the review panel.

“We are pleased the Government has committed to net zero emissions by 2050 with interim targets every five years, giving long-term direction and certainty to investors and the community,” she said.

“The Government has also agreed that strong monitoring and reporting requirements be enshrined in legislation to ensure transparency and accountability on climate change actions.”

Other key recommendations supported by the Victorian Government include:

  • embedding climate change objectives and principles in legislation to guide decisions with major impacts on the state’s emissions or climate change readiness
  • providing greater access to public land for purposes of carbon sequestration
  • empowering the EPA to impose emissions limits in licences
  • requiring each department to outline its emissions reduction target in a Low Carbon Growth Plan.

Ms Skarbek said Climateworks research for the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project demonstrated that Australia can achieve net zero emissions by 2050, while continuing to grow the economy.

“The Victorian Government’s announcement now enables it to join the global Under 2 MOU, a collection of 135 states and regions that have committed to over 80 per cent emissions reductions by 2050.”