President's Report May 2021

MD

 

On 3 May the Victorian State Government finally announced its Emissions Reductions Target: 45-50% cuts on 2005 levels by 2030. https://www.lilydambrosio.com.au/media-releases/climate-plan-to-cut-emissions-and-create-jobs/

The target is actually lower than that recommended in 2019 by the Independent Expert Panel established under Victoria’s Climate Change Act and headed by Greg Combet, to advise the government on target setting. An article in The Conversation, “A great start, but still not enough: why Victoria’s new climate target isn’t as ambitious as it sounds,” elaborates on this fundamental shortcoming: 

The panel recommended targets of 32–39% by 2025 and 45–60% by 2030 as Victoria’s “fair share” contribution to limiting warming to well below 2℃ in accordance with Paris Agreement goals. And it acknowledged these recommended ranges still wouldn’t be enough to keep warming to 1.5℃, in the context of global efforts.

Speaking at a University of Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute webinar on the evening of the announcement, Greg Combet noted that a more ambitious target would have required federal government action. One audience question by Melbourne Uni’s Associate Professor Peter Christoff, highlighted the modest level of ambition:

In 2021 Victoria’s emissions are already between -25 and -27 percent below 2005 levels.  If we add the already announced closure, by 2028, of Yallourn W – which produces some 13.5% of the State’s emissions – we will have reduced emissions by around 40% by 2028.  Is there only a further 5% to 10% - a half a percent to one percent per annum – to be cut from all other sectors in this decade, through to 2030?  Why not more from other sectors?

In answering, the Minister referenced the importance of investor certainty and that ‘if we can achieve more we will.’ Elaborating on this, Combet noted that there is a legislated process in train to monitor 2025-2030 targets on a sector by sector basis, to identify where reductions can be accelerated. 

While setting a lower target than is required is obviously extremely disappointing, opting it seems for a pragmatic approach in the interests of keeping business on side, Victoria’s stance is nonetheless considerably more ambitious than that of the federal government and currently leads the nation in driving climate action. One hope expressed at the MSSI webinar was for collaboration between the states, which all have Zero 2050 targets, to accelerate national action.

Importantly, the Victorian target is also accompanied by spending commitments to decarbonise the economy: $100 million towards reducing transport emissions; $20 million on making farming more sustainable; $15.3 million for the Victorian Carbon Farming Program; and the rather exciting promise that: ‘Government operations, from schools and hospitals to police stations and metro trains, will also be powered with 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025 – an Australian first.’

Tragically, the 2021 Federal Budget has failed to back renewables. There will be no green recovery. Expressing the exasperation of many, Renew Economy's Ketan Joshi observed:

Climate change is no longer an ‘issue’. It is everything: it soaks into every single compartmentalised subject matter in society. It drives the worsening of pre-existing problems – and climate solutions can drive the curing of those problems, too. A massive, budget-driven project to commence a rapid, immediate decarbonisation of Australia could be transformative.

In view of the 2021 federal budget failure, and comparing the Victorian ERT to Ballarat’s recent Net Zero 2030 target it seems it will be we, at the local level, left to drive radical action – but you probably already knew that! 

With that in mind we ask BREAZE members and friends to please consider making a submission on the CoB’s Draft Budget for 2021-22, which is currently open for feedback on the MySay Ballarat site. Do read the Draft Budget document before you make your submission. BREAZE Inc would like to see funds allocated for developing a Plan to promote and implement the Net Zero 2030 community-wide target. 

 

The  community wide Net Zero 2030 target was developed as part of the Council’s response to its existing Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan 2019-2025 (which applies to Council operations), the final page of which included clause 5.4a – Empowered Communities – requiring the Council to set aspirational community-wide targets. The Plan, which can be downloaded from the Council website, also includes other clauses on Community Carbon Emissions Reduction: 5.1 Future Generations; 5.2 Provide efficient facilities for City of Ballarat tenants; 5.3 Climate resilient local environments. Given time is of the essence, it would seem appropriate that funding should be allocated for activities identified under each of these clauses.

MEMBER EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Achieving Ballarat Net Zero by 2030: How you can Help – Tuesday 1 June via Zoom

On 1 June at 7pm BREAZE Inc. is hosting an online discussion – Achieving Ballarat Net Zero by 2030: How you can Help  - Register via Eventbrite   

Smart Living Ballarat

The next Smart Living Ballarat online talk on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 12:30 pm is for fashion lovers who also love the earth and watch their wallets.   “Looking fabulous doesn't have to cost the earth!” Catch our interview with Bianca Flint from The Wardrobe Green for your guide to Ballarat op shops and sustainable fashion next Wednesday, 19 May at 12:30 pm! https://bit.ly/3gVPb0Z

Ballarat Green Drinks

Ballarat Green Drinks continues online. And you can still catch the Video of April presenter, Fahimah, Sydney Convenor of  the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and Director of Fahimah Designs, an architecture practice that specialises in energy efficient, low carbon buildings. Fahimah spoke talk about justice, diversity and her own journey in the climate movement in a talk titled 'Facing the Future: Faith in Climate Action' https://www.facebook.com/BallaratGreenDrinks

BREAZE Talks to Brett McDonald on Ballarat Today – Radio 3BA

The next BREAZE talk on 3BA is on Friday 28 May at 10:15 AM. We hope that members will tune in to hear BREAZE Treasurer, Paul Tant, talk to Brett about ‘Steps people can take to ‘green’ their finances.’ 

BREAZE Social Solar and Grampians Renewable Energy Projectsolar media event 4

On 26th April BREAZE Inc. volunteers Peter Reid (GRE Coordinator) and Ross Irving, joined the Member for Wendouree, Julianna Addison at the Ballarat Table Tennis Centre along with a number of players, to mark the successful completion of the Grampians Renewable Energy Project, which has installed over 500kW of renewables – rooftop solar and batteries – on 109 buildings owned by not-for-profits across the region. The other recipients under the GRE program were

          • Child and Family Services (CAFS);
          • Old Colonists’ Association Inc.(OCA)
          • Uniting Care
          • McCallum Disability Services
          • Ballarat Regional Industries (BRI)
          • Ballarat Squash and Racquet Ball Association
          • Ballarat General Cemetery.

Part of a State-wide COVID stimulus package, GRE has bought jobs to the region, energy costs savings for the charities concerned while also importantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal fired electricity. 

Please consider supporting the work of BREAZE Social Solar with a donation to One Dollar, One Watt    All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
 
Board Meetings

If you have a passion for climate action and are interested in what we do please note BREAZE members are welcome to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in joining the Board or in just attending the May Board meeting, now held via Zoom, should email me – 

All the best

Mary                                                       

Mary Debrett
President, May 2021