Through the Climate Change Act 2017 (the Act), Victoria has committed to setting five-yearly interim greenhouse gas emissions1 (emissions) reduction targets on the path to net zero emissions by 2050. Through the Act, Victoria also recognises and supports the Paris Agreement on climate change, in which the international community committed to “holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” (the “Paris goal”).
The Premier and the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change must set Victoria’s first two interim targets (for the periods 2021- 2025 and for 2026-2030) by 31 March 2020. The Act requires the Minister to seek independent expert advice before setting these targets.
The Independent Expert Panel (the Panel) were appointed to provide that advice, specifically on:
- recommended interim targets for 2021-2025 and for 2026-2030;
- indicative trajectories for Victoria to achieve the long-term target of net zero emissions by 2050 based on the recommended interim targets; and
- potential opportunities to reduce emissions across the Victorian economy
The transition to a low-emissions economy is already underway and is gathering speed around the world, driven by technological advances, changing consumer preferences, business and investor action, public policies and the desire to avoid dangerous climate change. This presents both opportunities - such as new jobs and industries, significant health benefits, and improved productivity - and a risk of being left behind. Interim targets can help Victoria to prepare for and successfully navigate this period of significant change.
Interim targets are part of the Victorian Government’s role in planning for the future, as it does in other areas such as the economy, jobs, transport and water supply. Setting strong targets now can maximise the benefits and minimise the costs to Victoria of transitioning to a net zero emissions economy by 2050. Victorian targets can also influence the approach of the Commonwealth and of other states, territories and jurisdictions.