Halving emissions possible by 2020, according to report

Monday, 10 November, 2008

A report released by Environment Victoria shows how Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions could be more than halved by 2020.

Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria’s campaigns director, said halving emissions would transform Victoria from being one of the world’s highest per person greenhouse gas polluters into a climate change leader.

“The Nous Group report, Turning it around: climate solutions for Victoria, is the first of its kind in showing how a 54% reduction in Victoria’s emissions is possible by 2020,” Wakeham said.

“With the impacts of climate change accelerating far beyond expectations, it’s great news that it’s possible to slash our emissions in line with the reductions scientists tell us are necessary.

"But we’re going to need to throw everything at climate change starting right now. The research shows there are no magic bullets for solving climate change and that a broad range of technologies and policies are needed to combat the problem.

“For example, if Victoria’s entire building stock was given a green makeover to improve water and energy efficiency, we could cut Victoria’s emissions by more than 8.6 million tonnes per year by 2020, as well as cutting energy bills.

“After energy efficiency we need to clean up our energy supply by replacing coal-fired power with gas and renewable energy generation. With around 95% of Victoria’s electricity coming from coal, it’s a smart move to diversify our electricity supply and reduce the need to capture and bury emissions.”

Wakeham said the surprise finding in the report was how much emissions could be cut by altering how we produce and consume as a society.

“By ensuring the goods we buy are durable, recyclable, necessary and have a minimal carbon footprint, we could reduce emissions by 12 million tonnes per year by 2020. This is an area that has had little attention but offers much potential to slash emissions,” Wakeham said.

“Emissions from transport can also be reduced by driving more fuel-efficient cars, reducing the number of single-person vehicle trips and increasing public transport use. These measures could help us save 10 million tonnes of emissions by 2020.”

Scientist and climate change expert Professor David Karoly welcomed the research.

“We’ve got a crisis on our hands with climate change and urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This report shows that Victoria can play a lead role in responding to the climate crisis and outlines where we can make substantial emission reductions. It’s an extremely valuable contribution to discussions on climate responses in Victoria,” Karoly said.

The report can be downloaded from www.environmentvictoria.org.au.


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