Victoria - Putting stakeholders’ efforts at the heart of policies
Assessment of the territories’ climate action
Association Climate Chance (Climate Chance)
Since 2015, the Climate Chance Association has been involved in the mobilization in the fight against climate change. It is the only international association that proposes to bring together on an equal footing all the non-State actors recognized by the UN. In order to strengthen their action and to give credibility to the climate stabilization scenarios, the Climate Chance Association launched in 2018 a Global Observatory of Non-State Climate Action, which aims to explain the evolution of greenhouse gas emissions, by crossing national public policies, with sectoral dynamics, private actors’ strategies, local public policies, and actions undertaken by the actors of the territory. In 2019, in order to analyse the coherence of local public policies, Climat Chance proposes 13 new case studies of cities and regions. Here, the case of the State of Victoria in Australia.
To download : climate-chance-2019.pdf (1.5 MiB)
Governance and vertical integration of climate policies
Victoria emits almost a quarter of Australia’s total net emissions (21.7% in 2017). The Climate Change Act 2017 lays the legislative foundation for managing risk and building resilience to climate change. The Act requires a Sectoral Adaptation Action Plan every 5 years. Every 5 years from 2020, Victoria will declare interim targets in line with the 2050 carbon neutrality target : these targets will be reviewed by a panel of independent experts. Having set a
reduction of GHG emissions by 15-20 per cent in 2020 (2005 baseline), current projections estimate a reduction of 18.2 per cent : Victoria is on track to meet its targets. Launched in 2016, TAKE2 is the first state government led engagement initiative in Australia : individuals, businesses, local government, community organisations, schools and education centres can all commit to Victoria’s 2050 targets. 13,000 stakeholders are part of the network, and the programme lists all possible projects for each stakeholder category. The Virtual Climate Change Innovation Centre (VCCCI) was established to promote collaboration between business, industry, researchers and the Victorian Government. The VCCCI has a $4.3 million grant programme to support 24 projects that could lead to further investment, such as increasing soil carbon sequestration in dry grazing areas, or « smart », « self-detecting », « intelligent » and « self-directed » roads. (self-sensing) flood resilient.
Climate policy monitoring and evaluation
Victoria’s GHG emissions trends have been inconsistent since 2005. However, between 2005 and 2016 overall emissions decreased by 14.1 MtCO2eq, and the state has begun to enhance its carbon sink since 2011, reaching 9.7 MtCO2eq sequestration in 2016.
Energy - Supporting Self Consumption of Solar Energy
Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan has a 2020 target of 25% RE use and 40% by 2025. To achieve this, Victoria uses a reverse auction mechanism to fund renewable energy projects up to 900 MW. The auction guarantees a producer price for project developers through 15-year contracts for 2/3 of the capacity ; the rest is exposed to the market. Victoria’s efforts to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency also include a Greener Government Buildings programme - a combination of lighting retrofits, HVAC, solar panels and building automation and control - which has reduced 686,000 tonnes of GHGs per year since 2009. Launched in August 2018, the « Solar Homes program » regional allowance scheme hopes to increase residential solar capacity (for households with less than USD 180,000 annual taxable income) to 2.6 GW of solar systems on 650,000 rooftops. The initial offer consisted of a half price discount for small PV systems ($2,225 subsidy) : the monthly allowances were exhausted within a few hours, demonstrating the success of the programme, despite some criticism. The recent return to power of the Labour Party allows the extension of the offer of interest-free loans, half price storage batteries and access to rebates for solar installations on roofs of tenants.
Mobility - Infrastructure investments for individual electric cars
The Victorian government is promoting low emission transport : for example, it is supporting a hydrogen and electric motor vehicle manufacturing facility, and offering registration discounts for hybrid and electric passenger vehicles ($100 per car). Australia’s fastest electric recharging station is being developed in Victoria. The state government initially provided Chargefox (the company that is building two sites and multiple charging stations, operational before 2019) with $1 million, which the company has promised to keep. Its success led the government to provide an additional USD 2 million for the construction of 5 additional charging stations. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has also invested 6 million USD out of a total cost of 15 million USD. Recharging time is drastically reduced : 15 minutes for a range of 400 km. 100% of the electricity comes from renewable sources, sometimes solar electricity produced on site (with storage batteries). Tourism benefits are expected from this technology by facilitating inter-state travel.
Soil use - Natural forests under pressure
Victorian forests are among the most carbon dense in the world. In 2016, 9.7MtCO2eq net were sequestered, or -8.5% of net emissions. The land is expected to remain a carbon sink at least until 2020, but a reduction in the sector’s absorptive capacity of 25.3% is feared due to harvesting from commercial plantations. To this end VicForests, the State of Victoria’s forestry company, is allocated 1.82 million ha of the 7.6 million hectares of natural forest in the Territory. Proponents of logging argue that only 450,000 ha (5.7%) of the primary forest estate is suitable for harvesting. They also argue that wooden buildings and furniture store carbon, although most harvesting products are for short-term use. These short-lived wood products from natural forests quickly end up in landfills where they decompose and release the carbon they store into the atmosphere. There is suspicion of illegal logging outside dedicated areas and in thousands of locations across the state - meanwhile, the Victorian government is not ruling out the possibility of allocating more space for logging in its national parks.
Adaptation - The beginnings of citizen engagement
After working with all 79 municipalities on climate change adaptation between 2013 and 2016 through the Victorian Partnership for Adaptation and Sustainability, the Victorian Government has developed its Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2017-2020. The $9.3 million « Regional Support for Adaptation » program, funded over 3 years through the Sustainability Fund, focuses on collaborative action between the Victorian Government and regional communities. In 2017-2018, all 6 regional offices of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) produced Regional Adaptation Overview Reports to inform state-level policy. The Victorian Partnership for Adaptation and Sustainability is funding The Rural People : Resilient Futures Project, which aims to reduce the vulnerability of the people of the Southern Grampians Shire whose health and well-being may be affected by climate change-amplified events such as heat waves, fires and droughts. The DELWP is strengthening the regional flood prevention system through FloodZoom, which brings together forecasting, mapping, river level measurements and property data. Aboriginal cultural fires have been re-introduced in Victoria in the hope of revitalizing the land and reducing the risk of wildfire : 27 such fires undertaken by Forest Management Victoria in collaboration with Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation are planned between 2019 and 2021.