Note: In this submission provided to the Victorian Government in May 2022, we recommended Victoria set a 2035 emissions reduction target of 75-80 per cent below 2005 levels, based on a 1.5 degrees Celsius least cost pathway for Australia. In October 2022, the Victorian Government announced plans to adopt this target. If implemented, this would align Victoria to the Paris goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

When the Victorian Government legislated the Climate Change Act 2017, it made a strong statement about the state’s ambition to be a leader on climate change in Australia, and globally.

Victoria’s interim targets frameworks provide an opportunity for the state to chart a course to a prosperous, net zero emissions future.

Each interim target consultation process allows Victoria to assess and capitalise on recent developments in climate science, technology, and global action.

There have been a number of contextual developments since the last interim target was set in 2021.

Rapid advancements have been made in the technological and financial feasibility of emissions reduction solutions.

At the same time, the economic risks of climate inaction are increasing including higher cost of capital and poorer credit ratings, as well as trade implications for governments and businesses delaying climate action.

The most recent climate science has highlighted the necessity of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, and there is increased global resolve to achieve this goal.

The Victorian Government has an opportunity through this interim targets process to continue its position as a global leader on climate change by revising its 2026-30 targets and setting targets for 2031-35 aligned to the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Even in achieving net zero emissions by 2050, going early and making significant emissions reductions this decade will allow Victorian businesses and households to capture the economic, social and environmental cobenefits of climate action.

It will also ensure Victorian industries continue to prosper in the rapidly changing global marketplace. In the previous Independent Expert Panel consultation process, Climateworks provided data from our then-forthcoming Decarbonisation Futures report.

As part of that work, Climateworks modelled a scenario of the Australian economy that is aligned to the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

In this scenario, we estimated that with strong policy action, Victorian net emissions could be reduced by 65 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and by 74 per cent by 2035, without the use of offsets purchased from outside Victoria.

This submission outlines many of the opportunities this modelling identified to achieve the above stated emissions reductions in Victoria.

These include a transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030; the electrification of Victoria’s buildings, industrial facilities and vehicle stocks; deep energy efficiency improvements; and continued research and development of solutions to harder-to-abate sectors such as agriculture and freight transport.

Since Climateworks’ Decarbonisation Futures modelling was undertaken, there have been significant advancements in the prospects for emissions reductions.

Climateworks is currently undertaking updated modelling of 1.5 degrees aligned action in Australia, and our initial results highlight that Victoria can make significantly greater emissions reductions than in the scenarios modelled as part of Decarbonisation Futures.

We welcome the opportunity to provide a briefing on our updated modelling results as they are finalised during 2022.

Achieving a 1.5 degrees aligned trajectory for Victoria will require government, businesses and households to go ‘all-in’ this decade.

The Independent Panel’s advice to the Victorian Government can ensure that their interim targets and supporting sectoral emissions pledges can set the overarching ambition required to catalyse action.

For this reason, Climateworks recommends that the Victorian Government increase the 2026-30 emissions reduction target to 65-70 per cent below 2005 levels, and set a target of 75-80 per cent for 2031-35.

These targets would solidify Victoria’s status as a global climate leader, bring economic, social and environmental benefits to Victorians and align Victoria to the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Our detailed submission provided to the Victorian Government outlines:

  • the current context of climate change action, globally and in Victoria
  • the rationale for our recommendation that the Victorian Government increase its 2026-30 to 65-70 per cent below 2005 levels, and set a target of 75-80 per cent for 2031-35
  • key sectoral benchmarks and the emissions reduction opportunities in Victoria over the coming decade, and in 2031-35
  • the economic, social and environmental benefits of the recommended interim targets
  • suggestions to address the challenges of achieving the recommended interim targets